Can Pittisporum bugs cause damage to mature plants

I have two pitts, one has been really sick (browning leaves, dying branches, spots on the leaves) and I have had to cut off quite a few dead branches. Can it be the bugs (black bugs with white spots) that are causing the damage? The other tree also lost a few branches, but nowehere near as many as the other tree. I can't see much if any evidence of the bugs on that one. The sick tree has also had some little white blobs (they look like small blobs of white chewing gum) that when squashed have an orange waxy kind of liquid inside them. Are they a form of scale? The soil is quite sandy and free draining and being in Perth root rot isn't a major issue although of course during winter they had a lot of moist leaves around the roots.


20 November 2012 09:58 AM

Hi Jake,

The Pittosporum bug damages the young leaves of the pittosporum by sucking sap from the plant and decreasing the health of the tree. The white blobs you are seeing on the stems and branches is likely to be scale. This is again a sap sucking insect which needs to be controlled otherwise you will soon see a decline in the tree's health. We would suggest using a product called PestOil . This product, when sprayed directly onto the scale, with suffocate the pest, dry it out and it will die. From your description of the scale present, it is alive, so the product should be sprayed now. Pittosporums do like to have a well drained soil. The trees can suffer with root rot when their roots become saturated. If you suspect that this may be the case, you could apply a product called Anti Rot which will give your trees protection against such soil borne diseases.

Topics: Flowers and Ornamentals Issues: Pests