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I just got two texas sage trees on friday & planted them in large containers, well today while looking at one of them I see one tree has black on some of the branches along with white frothy stuff, some of the leafs are falling off with black spots on them. When I look at the other tree I see none of this. What is wrong with my new tree? Should I try to take it back? How do I fix this? I am a beginner & know nothing about stuff like this. PLEASE HELP!
The white frothy stuff is probably spittlebugs--at least out here this is the time of year they usually show up. They don't typically do much damage (although they can carry diseases) but I hose off the spit when I see it. They will go away on their own too--they show up for a short time in the spring and then disappear. I've never had a plant damaged by them so I definitely wouldn't return the plant to the nursery because of them (not to mention they might not be the nursery's fault in the first place--those could have easily come from your yard somewhere). This is what I suspect based on your description but a picture would help confirm.
The black spots could be fungus but it would really help to see some pictures. I would worry more about this than the white froth, and if the plant does have a fungal infection of some sort that would be good cause to return it to the nursery. You haven't had the plant long enough for fungal issues to be due to something you did.
Thank you for your fast response, as you can see I am a beginner. I truly hope what ever it is that i can fix the problem, see my father just passed away & mom & I picked this out to put in his garden. I will post pictures tomorrow, sun is down.
White stuff looks like mealybugs so I would definitely get rid of those (or take the plant back--a good nursery shouldn't sell plants that are infested with something like that). Keep an eye on the other plant and anything else that is planted nearby since they can spread. I don't like chemicals, so when I get pests like that I generally just manage them with a strong jet from the hose. Repeat that every few days for a while and that should take care of them. But if they're persistent or if you don't mind chemicals, I'd still hose the plant off to get rid of as many as you can, but then apply an insecticide that's labeled as taking care of mealybugs. If you don't have a lot of them, rubbing them off with a q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol also works fine (that's what many people do when they get mealies on houseplants)
Can't tell as much on the black spots because they're harder to see--could just be some spotting from overhead watering in the evening or something like that. Or it could be some sooty mold that's forming because of the mealybugs. Mealybugs are one of several pests that secrete a sweet "honeydew" which makes a great breeding ground for sooty mold. The mold grows on the honeydew not actually on the plant, but if you let things get to the point where the leaves are all covered in it, it can get in the way of photosynthesis. A little bit won't hurt the plant though, the bigger issue is to get rid of the pest that's making the honeydew since the pest is the thing that's going to hurt the plant.
Thank you, I just ran outside & covered the soil & rinsed it off & used the rubbing alcohol with q-tips. Funny thing was finally after doing this the nursery finally called & when I told her what was going on she said as soon as it is dry & in the coolest part of the day to spray it with 1 gallon of water mixed with 1 tsp of dish soap, 1 tsp rubbing alcohol, 1tsp mouthwash, & 1tsp cooking oil. She then said to spray the leafs, branches, & soil, then to keep an eye on it & in two weeks do it again.
I will try this and keep an eye on it & if I see anything before the two weeks I guess I will use the rubbing alcohol with a q-tip again.
Thanks again for the quick help you have given this newbie & I will keep you posted of the progress.
I'm all for trying to save the plant (and it definitely still looks savable) but the nursery shouldn't have sold it to you infested with mealybugs. Do they have a time limit on returns? Assuming the two weeks is still within their return window I'd be all for trying to get rid of the mealies on your own, but otherwise I'd be tempted to return it for a healthy plant. Or at a minimum you ought to try and get them to give you a discount on your next purchase or something.
When I talked to her she more interested in trying to use the mix before returning it, i'll try it but if it's still as bad as it is today in a week I am going to bring it back. When I used the q-tips & rubbing alcohol I was finding what looked like dark tan to brown little eggs oval in shape, my eyes are not the greatest but it did not look like it had legs. Tonight when I try the mix I will take a picture of some & post it.
Kimber..do the little eggs resemble the image in this link? If so it is an insect called scale...and if the plant has scale in addition to the meal bugs, I would return it.It should not have been sold in that condition.
Having problems post pictures so I will post a few at a time. The first photos are of the bugs I am finding on the tree along with the black & white frothy stuff, almost like a white powder. The other photo I will post will show what else I just found today. A black lady beetle with two red spots, is this a good thing or a bad thing? The other photo just shows the black spots on the tree.
Kimber...that tree appears to be infested with a few problems. Mealy bugs, powdery mildew, and what looks like frass...white fly excretions. Were it my plant, having only had it a very short time and the nursery aware of the mealybugs, I would return it and double check the second tree before you do anything else...The tree has almost every pest that is common to Leucophyllum frutescens.
I agree, every picture you post shows more & more problems so I'd try to return it if I were you. If they're willing to give you a new one but let you keep the old one too then it's worth trying to save (and probably could be saved) but you're going to have to put a lot of effort into it. They never should have sold you a plant in that condition and in my opinion they owe it to you to make things right (assuming of course that it was a full price plant that you weren't expecting to have to put any effort into saving--if it was something you got for a couple dollars off the Lowe's half dead rack then that's a different story!)
Know I paid full price for this baby & I got it from a nursery, I am going to call them in the AM & see what can be done I know they only have one left & they already looked at it & said nothing was wrong with that one. I did spray it today & alot of it looked a lot better but there are areas with a lot of black on it. I don't no how I am going to do this I work 12- 14 hr nights/ days for the next 6 days, just getting there is going to be hard. Lets hope they understand & for all the trouble I am going through they are willing to take it back after this work week.
Update, I just wanted to let you know as of this past Monday I took the old sick Texas sage back & was given a new one for free. This poor tree I was able to get rid of the mealy bugs but not without damage to the branches. Thanks again for your help.