Brown pod-like growths on jade
(south bend, IN)
I noticed brown little seed/pod-like growths on some of the stems of my Jade. They seem to be fairly brittle and burst when i poke them. I can't really tell but they almost seem to be filled with a white fiber-y stuff. . kinda web-like.
I'm worried this is a bad thing and want to get it taken care of soon as I know jades can be finicky. The jade I have is rather large and is around 30 years old.
Thanks in advance for any help.
Hi Kate - good call - this is a fairly major emergency for your plant. Many older plants seem to get these critters, which are called Scale (I guess because that's what they look like, and if there are a lot of them they are really disgusting). They also excrete what's called honey dew, which is not as nice as it sounds, but attracts ants and sooty mold.
These are the adult form of the scale, and the juvenile one is called a crawler - you guessed it - they're ambulatory and move around until they reach maturity, when they settle down to a permanent spot to do major damage to their host. Generally, they don't actually kill the plant, but they're so contagious and hard to get rid of, that's sometimes the end result (when you throw the plant in the garbage).
So, for treatment, if you decide to go this route, is first of all to isolate this plant from any other plants. Wash between handling plants, because they can hitchhike between them on your hands.
Then, here's my suggested mixture to get rid of them; you will have to remain watchful forever after.
First of all, scrape off any scale that you can reach to take down the population. Keep in mind that each of those adult scale can produce thousands of eggs.
Get a small one liter/one quart spray bottle (couple of bucks at the dollar store) and half fill with lukewarm water.
Add a few drops of liquid soap - either Safers insecticidal soap, dish soap (not detergent) or some hand soap.
Add about a half a teaspoon of cooking oil, any kind will do. This is important, as it will smother the adults and hopefully the crawlers too.
Shake well, top up to the full quart amount with more lukewarm water and spray the plant to dripping point. Put it on a shower curtain, plastic film or outside for this treatment.
Repeat every couple of days for a week or so, and then keep a close eye on it. Guaranteed you won't have got all the eggs, which are immune to this treatment, and those will hatch out in a few days after you stop. Keep spraying, don't give up.
Alternately, you can use some kind of systemic insecticide that they will suck in while they feed, but I've never used these, and I would shy away from suggesting their use if you have children or pets.
Hope that helps with your issue!