Pittosporum dying

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Pittosporum dying

Postby stookey » Sat Mar 09, 2013 12:35 am

I have several pittosporum hedges (James Stirling, Silver Sheen & Screenmaster). Some were planted 15 years ago. The rest were planted 3 years ago. All the plants have adequate watering and have been growing very well until now.
One of the newer Silver Sheen developed the problem first and it has now spread to all the 3 yo ones. At first it looks like a small white paint smear on the main trunk and it can be scraped off. As the problem progresses, the white smear develops some brown colour. I think it's sap being sucked out by the white stuff. It's sticky. The leaves turn brown (as if there is not enough watering) and then the whole branch dies. The problem does not appear to have originated from the soil. So far the older pittosporums have not been affected.

The nursery suggested that it was scales and to spray with pest oil. I did that several days ago and can't tell whether it has done any good. One plant is really sickly looking and has lost a lot of branches and leaves. Would appreciate any advice on this. If the hedges die, I will have to start all over again to block out double-storey houses on 2 boundaries.

I am new to this forum and I'm not sure how to upload photos. So I've put them on a photo-hosting site instead. You can look at the photos by clicking on these:
http://imgur.com/UhBwTJ8,q694rc2
http://imgur.com/UhBwTJ8,q694rc2#1
http://imgur.com/Fcce5PV
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Re: Pittosporum dying

Postby Pam » Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:44 am

I suspect there is also a bacterial problem, which may or may not have been introduced by sap-sucking insects.

It's hard to tell from the picture, but that bug in your third pic looks the same as the one here, which they have labeled as Pittosporum Bug:
http://www.agric.wa.gov.au/objtwr/impor ... es1208.pdf

Possibly because of poor picture quality, it's hard to tell whether it is the same as other pics of Pittosporum Bug that come up in a Google search . Take a look at your bug on the tree and compare with those.

There's a bit of info attached to this page that might help you track down the problem. It would be a shame to lose the older plants.

http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/GARDEN/PLANTS/pittosporum.html

Can I ask what your watering routine is please, and have you had a lot of wet weather recently?
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Re: Pittosporum dying

Postby stookey » Sat Mar 09, 2013 9:57 am

Thanks Pam. I'm not so sure that i's a bug, that's why I'm sceptical of the nursery's view that it could be scales. I've checked the white stuff with a small magnifying glass and I just can't see any creepy crawlies. (The bug in the 3rd pic that you referred to is actually a spot of sap.)

When I scrapped off the stuff, it has the consistency of chalk bonded together by the sticky sap, so more like a paste. The less developed ones which have not sucked out sap yet are just like chalky paint. They attack the branches rather than the leaves but soon the leaves turn brown at the tips and then dry up (see pic) and the whole branch dies.
P3092825.JPG
P3092826.JPG
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Re: Pittosporum dying

Postby stookey » Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:33 am

Sorry Pam, after posting the photos, I forgot to answer your question on my watering routine. Pittosporums don't seem to require much watering but because it's been really warm and dry in Melbourne this summer, I have been watering them. My 'routine' is to water after a few warm days. If it's been hot, then 2 or 3 times/week, otherwise once/week in summer. I do try to drench the soil.
When the first pittosporum started showing brown leaves about a month ago, I thought it was lack of water so I watered it more. I didn't realise it was something attacking the plant until a week ago.
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Re: Pittosporum dying

Postby allieono » Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:23 pm

Hopefully you have found out what your problem is, but if not try spraying your pittos with a copper spray (all nurseries and hardware stores stock copper oxychloride) I had a problem about 12 months ago that looks like yours and couldn't find out what it was.The stems seamed to bleed a sticky sap and the bark would split, like there was a bacterial problem of some sort. I sprayed all mine with copper and it worked, but still don't know what the problem was and how to prevent it happening again....hope this helps
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Re: Pittosporum dying

Postby Woko » Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:36 pm

What effect on the soil would the spraying of copper oxychloride have, allieono?
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Re: Pittosporum dying

Postby stookey » Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:03 am

Thanks allieono. I'll try the copper spray. Will let you know whether it works.I don't think the pestoil did much good.
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Re: Pittosporum dying

Postby stookey » Sat Mar 30, 2013 2:16 pm

Hi Allieono
The spray appears to have worked because the white patches are no longer sitcky which means the sap is not bleeding. The trees have lost much leaves but I think in time they will recover. The patches are still all over the plants so I will give them another spray later. I agree with you that it's something bacterial and the copper fungicide did the trick. Thanks for your advice.
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Re: Pittosporum dying

Postby mkblackmore » Thu Apr 04, 2013 2:06 pm

Hi Stookey
You photos are identical to what is happening to mine.
Mine are getting to the point where the leaves are browing off and almost look dead.
I'll go up the street today and buy some of the coppy spray suggested and see if I can save them as I have had mine for approx 5 years and will not be happy to loose them.
I'll let you know if I can save mine too.
I do find it interesting that no one knows what it actually is.
Oh well, wish me luck and thanks for your photos & everyones suggestions.
Cheers
Mel :D
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Re: Pittosporum dying

Postby nelson castro » Mon Apr 08, 2013 4:28 pm

allieono wrote:try spraying your pittos with a copper spray (all nurseries and hardware stores stock copper oxychloride)...hope this helps


Couldn' t agree more.. As copper spray has been used to treat fruit trees for many years and is considered a staple to prevent disease. Most forms, such as copper sulfate, are approved for organic growers and can be used on your organic fruit trees. Copper sprays are safe for most orchard applications when directions are followed.
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Re: Pittosporum dying

Postby stookey » Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:18 am

I'll let you know if I can save mine too.


I hope your trees are recovering. A couple of my bad ones have big gaps in the foliage but the others seem to be doing ok now. I've recently used some Seasol on them to encourage leaf production. Maybe you can try that as well.

As a newbie, I find this forum really helpful.
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