Japan, 1820, Zone 5-10
Fissured or Wrinkled

Bark Type

Fissured or Wrinkled

Fissured bark forms long narrow divisions causing separations. Wrinkled bark generally has smooth folded appearance that may be warty.
Broad domed

Growth Habit

Broad domed

Trees with a broad spreading dense crown.
4 - 5 m (13 - 17 ft )
4 m (13 ft)

Plant Overview

This small deciduous tree has a solitary or multiple trunks with upright spreading branches that form a rounded crown. It has lobed mid green leaves that turn reddish during autumn and the small red saucer-shaped flowers appear in a pendant cluster in spring.


Acer palmatum Thunb. is naturally found from Honshu to Shikoku and Kyushu in Japan and southern Korea growing in woodlands or thickets and along forest margins, commonly associated with water courses from lowland regions to the mountains at an elevation up to 3,000 m (9,842 ft). It grows in moist but well drained fertile sandy to clay or loamy soil that is tending acidic with a pH range from 4.5 to 7.0. It prefers a wind protected semi-shaded to sunny position, disliking drought and high temperatures but is frost and cold tolerant with a minimum temperature when dormant of -26ºC (-15ºF).


The Japanese Maple is grown for spreading crown and its autumn foliage colour. It is planted in parks and gardens as a lawn specimen or along avenues for shade and as an understory tree in a woodland setting. It is suitable for mountain or coastal regions tolerating a variety of moist soils. It has a slow growth rate establishing in 4 to 10 years and is long lived, up to 150 years. It is also commonly used as a bonsai subject or grown as a specimen in Japanese gardens. There are many cultivars available with varying leaf colour and growth habits. Once established it has a medium water requirement, (Scale: 2-drops from 3) responding to mulch and reliable soil moisture for optimum growth, but dislikes dry conditions.

I.D. 321

UK hardiness zone H6
Climate zones 2 - 10, 12, 14 - 24

USDA Zone 5-10



Under cultivation the tree normally attains a height of 5 m (15 ft) but in its natural environment it reaches 8 m (27 ft).  


Acer (AR-ser) palmatum (pahl-MAH-tum)



Genus: - Latin - Acer – the Latin name for Maple or meaning hard or sharp (ancient Roman spears were of maple wood)

Species: Latin – palmatum – from ‘palmate’ referring to the appearance of an open hand with outstretched fingers



Note: There are more than 300 cultivars with some of them listed below and some may only be found in the USA or UK.  



The most popular Japanese maple leaves are usually bronzy crimson throughout summer and turn brilliant red during autumn.


'Aka Shigitatsu Sawa'

This deciduous tree grows to 4 m (12 ft) tall and wide with spreading branches forming a rounded crown.  The attractive foliage is creamy white with green veins and tinged rose coloured when emerging during spring.  During autumn they turn brilliant red before falling and the plant boasts a perfect shape with dainty foliage.  It is planted in small Japanese gardens as an accent plant or grown in large containers. this shrub prefers a full sun to semi shaded position and grows on moist well-drained fertile soils that are tending a neutral pH.  It will tolerate zone 5 but it is advisable to mulch the roots during winter for protection.


'Akegarasu'  Matsumurae

This large shrub to small tree has a short greyish trunk with spreading to horizontal branching forms a broad rounded habit to ground level.  The deep purplish-red new growth matures to bronze in summer and in spring it produces tiny pendant red cup-shaped flowers.  This is an ideal specimen tree for colour contrast in a small garden preferring moist, humus rich well-drained soils.


'Albomarginatum' (Argenteomarginatum)

This tree's leaves are slightly smaller than the species and are green with a white border.


'Asahi zuru'

This vigorous spreading shrub has white or pink leaves when young and becoming mottled with white upon maturity.



This tree has upright spreading branches forming a dense rounded crown.  It has deep- bronze to purple foliage with up to 9 lobes that becomes green during summer and then the leaves turn red in autumn.



This tree is covered with soft yellow leaves turning more gold like in summer.


'Beni Maiko'

This smaller bushy shrub starts with striking red foliage turning pink and finally maturing to a red-green.


'Beni Schichihenge'

This small tree is a quite uncommon form.  It's deeply lobed blue-green leaves may be margined in white-pink or entirely bright pink-orange.



This slow growing small tree forms a rounded habit to 6 m (20 ft) tall.  It produces deep reddish purple leaves during spring and turns red during autumn.  This is a very cold hardy cultivar and produces attractive red fruit.


'Burgundy Lace'

This small rounded tree is 2 m (12 ft) high and 2.2 m (15 ft) wide. The new foliage is purple bronze turning green in summer with finely serrated lobes.  Suitable plant for domestic garden.



This slow growing upright tree forms a vase habit to 5 m (15 ft) high and 2.1 m (8 ft) wide.  Its leaves are pink with green margins that mature to grey green with cream coloured variegations and during autumn turn rose-red.



This tree when mature has a compact mounded habit and elegant limp branches.  The deeply cut leaves are green-bronze and brilliant in autumn.



This slow growing dwarf shrub forms are a dense crown with arching branches that have 5-lobed deep shrimp-pink coloured leaves when unfolding, turning to pale mottled green in summer. It is rare in cultivation and may be difficult to obtain requiring a specialist nursery.



This graceful but delicate slow growing form has fine segmented bronze red leaves.


'Crimson Prince'

This cold hardy shrub has bright red summer foliage that turns scarlet during autumn.  



This shrub of an upright habit is medium in size with pointed lobes that are red when young and maturing to bright green.


'Emperor 1'

This vigorous plant produces a red leaf that is persistent during summer.  


'Facination' ®

This tree is upright and spreading to 5 m (16 ft) tall by 5 m (16 ft) wide forming a rounded habit.  It produces large deep green leaves with narrow lobes and turns orange during autumn.


'Glowing embers'

This vigorous tree produces small dark green leaves that turn orange red purple during autumn.  It tolerates warmer climates.


'Hessei' (Elegans Purpureum)

This tree is upright with spreading branches and forms a domed crown. The leaves turn red brown during autumn and the plant is used in Japanese or cool climate gardens for colour.


'Kasen nishiki'

This deciduous slow-growing tree grows to 7 m (25 ft) tall are with spreading branches that form a rounded crown.  It has variegated bluish-green leaves that have streaks of white and margins with pink tones. The leaf segments are sickle shaped and tend to weep downwards.


'Moon Fire'

This small tree grows to 4.5 m (15 ft) and produces purple green leaves with 7 lobes up to 120 mm (5 in) long.  They maintain their colour during summer and during autumn they turn crimson.


'Nicholsonii'  Matsumurae

This deciduous shrub grows to 7 m (23 ft) tall with spreading branches to ground level forming a low rounded crown.  The spring new growth is reddish bronze with green veins and deepens to green during summer.  During autumn the leaves turn a rich crimson orange before falling.  This popular plant is an excellent specimen from small garden or may be grown in large containers.



This small tree has a short blackish trunk with spreading branches that form a rounded crown.  It has semi glossy palmate leaves with serrated margins and long reddish petioles and arranged on layered branches.


'Red Sentinel'

This vigorous tree produces dark red leaves that persist throughout summer.  


'Sango kaku' (syn. senkaki)  Coral Bark Maple

This slow growing tree has an upright vase habit to 7 m (25 ft) high and 6.2 m (22 ft) wide.  The doubly serrated leaves can have up to 7 lobes and are of a reddish colour turning to a mid-green in summer and a yellow-gold in autumn. The young stems are coral colour during winter occurring in the first and second years of growth only and the small reddish flowers appear during spring. Tolerates most well drained moderately fertile moist soils and prefers a wind protected sunny position.



This small tree up to 5 m (15 ft) forms a rounded crown when mature.  The 5 lobed leaves are up to 800 mm (3 in) long and they have irregularly serrated margins.  During autumn they turn yellow.


'Scolopendirfolium Rubrum'

This smaller slower growing tree is very similar to the Scolopendirfolium'.  It may grow to 2.5 m (8 ft) tall producing purple reddish leaves that become reddish green in summer.  Autumn leaves are red.



This upright tree becomes broad spreading with age to 5 m (16 ft) high and 4.8 m (13 ft) wide.  It produces leaves up to 600 mm (2.5 in) long with recurved margins and are deep purplish colour that persist into summer.  During autumn the leaves turn into red crimson.



This small shrub grows to 2 m (6 ft) tall and wide with arching branches forming an open rounded crown.  The new growth in spring emerges reddish bronze than matures to brown-green and turns orange-yellow during autumn. It is not commonly cultivated and may be difficult to obtain but, it is an excellent specimen plant a small garden.




Dissectum cultivars are weeping shrubs with a domed crown.  This group produces plants with leaves that have up to 11 lobes that maybe also finely divided.


'Crimson Queen'

This medium sized tree will grow to 3 m (10 ft) by 4 m (12 ft) and will keep the bright crimson leaves throughout the growing season.  In particularly warm climates the foliage may become more bronze green.  Each leaf may have 7, 9 or 11 lobes.



This tree has deeply and finely cut leaves and has a low and pendulous habit. Needs a protected position and to be kept moist.


'Dissectum atropurpureum'

This small tree as an upright rounded habit forming in dense crown with intricate branchlets.  It has finally dissected palmate leaves that are dark bronze to purple.


'Dissecturn Nigrum' ('Ever Red')

This shrub is of a dense habit with bronzy leaves becoming brilliant red in autumn.


'Dissectum Ornatum'

This common form of the species grows to 2 m (6 ft) by 3 m (9 ft) with new leaves a duller red than some other varieties.  The 7 lobed delicate leaves are green in summer turning crimson in the autumn.


'Dissecturn Palmatifidum'

This tree can be slightly inconsistent but mostly with finely cut leaves, more so than Dissectum.


'Dissectum variegatum'

This tree has fine foliage with cream, bronze and pink turning green.


'Ever Red'

This vigorous form can grow to 5 m (15 ft) with a drooping pendulous habit.  The new purplish foliage can have a downy pubescence that soon converts to a deep red colour turning bronze green in autumn.  This cultivar varies in colour from bright red to deep purple.



This tree has beautiful dark veined yellow green foliage that becomes gold in autumn.



This medium sized tree grows to 2.8 m (8 ft) high and forms a rounded habit.  The lacy leaves are light yellow green in summer and yellow orange in autumn.


'Inaba Shidare' ('Red Select')

This fast growing sturdy tree attains a height of 3.2 m (10 ft).  Its large 7 lobed leaves are purple red in spring transforming to crimson in the autumn. This is a very cold hardy plant however it is not tolerant high temperatures or drought.


'Koto No Ito'

This upright deciduous shrub has a short trunk with spreading branches that form a compact rounded crown.  It has variable delicate narrow lobed bamboo-like leaves that are crimson when young, turning green as they mature then turning orange-red during autumn. In spring it produces clusters of tiny cup-shaped red, pendant flowers and the tree is planted in small or Japanese gardens preferring a cool moist, wind protected position.  It tolerates most well drained fertile soils with a neutral pH and responds to mulching during summer.


'Mure Hibari'  Smooth Japanese Maple

This vigorous upright deciduous small tree grows to 5 m (16 ft) tall, with arching branches to ground level, forming a rounded crown.  During spring the new small deeply divided leaves are brick red along the margins and turning green during summer. In autumn the leaves turn, bright red to mauve before falling and the plant is used around water features in small or Japanese gardens giving an excellent display. This plant belongs to the Matsumurae group and its name means 'flock of Skylark's'.



This common variation can grow to 3 m (9 ft).  The 7 lobed leaves are dissected and fragile with the colours ranging from green in summer to crimson red in autumn.


'Red Dragon'

This variation holds its colour better than other cultivars, the new growth being brilliant bright red.  This is a heat tolerant plant suitable for the Southern Hemisphere.


'Red Filigree Lace'

A standard habit of the Dissectum group, this sturdy tree has reddish brown, very fine 7 lobed leaves that turn rich deep red in autumn.  



This large upright tree forms a vase shape uncharacteristic of this group.  Matures to 5 m (15 ft) high and 3.2 m (10 ft) wide.  The foliage varies from bright green to gold, orange and red.


'Sherwood Flame'

This large heat resistant tree grows to 4.2 m (13 ft) high and 5.2 m (16 ft) wide with a spreading habit.  The maroon summer foliage turns crimson during the autumn.



This old cultivar can be up to 4.2 m (13 ft) high and 5.2 m (16 ft) wide with young foliage a deep red maturing to purple.  The 7 to 9 lobed leaves hold their colour well.



This tree is covered in beautiful green foliage during summer transforming to yellow and then red.



This is a heat tolerate variation and will grow to 3.2 m (10 ft) high by 4.6 m (14 ft) wide.  The foliage is an attractive deep green in summer and gold with a reddish tinge in autumn.


'Seigan sanguineum'

This tree has yellow green foliage and red twigs during winter.


'Roseum marginatum'

This tree has dark green leaves that are variegated cream with a faint rose margin during early spring.



These plants have larger leaves normally with 7 lobes that are finely serrated



This tree has long deep green attractive leaves.



This is a strong growing from of the tree with finely cut lobes and deep red garnet coloured foliage.


'Kagari Nishiki' ('Roseomarginatum')

This tree has pretty but inconsistent pale green leaves with a pinkish margin.



New growth is pink transforming to mottled white and pink upon maturity.


'Kinran'  Matsumure

This shrub is upright to 5 m (15 ft) tall by 3 m (10 ft) wide with spreading to horizontal branches forming a low rounded crown. The deeply cut new growth is glossy, red purple with a green veins and a green underside.  They mature to a bronze-green then, turning to a golden colour during autumn before falling.  This stylish plant is ideal as a specimen in a small garden or woodlands setting.



This long lasting plant has rich red leaves during autumn.


'Koshimino' ('Sessilifolium') ('Decompositum') 'Hagoromo'

This dwarf tree has erect spreading branches that form an open crown with deeply cut leaves that is coppery coloured when young. During autumn, the leaves turn red and the dwarf form of this tree is known as 'Hagoromo'. It is planted in small or Japanese gardens and used in low border planting for colour.



This medium size tree grows to 5 m (15 ft) tall by 3 m (10 ft) wide with deeply cut bright green foliage that turns yellow during autumn. The new growth and twigs are reddish during spring.  This tree prefers a partially shaded protected position, and grows on most well drained moist soils with pH from 4 to 7.5, and responds to mulch.  During spring, it produces pendant purplish red flowers and the tree is frost and dear tolerant but drought tender.  


'Linearilobum Atropurpureum'

Similar to 'Linearilobum' however leaves are more bronze.



The summer foliage is lustrous green becoming pale lemon yellow in autumn.



Deep purple foliage.



This tree grows to 6 m (20 ft) tall with a rounded crown.  The leaf has 7 serrated lobes and is bright green turning rich crimson in autumn.  The most brilliant foliage to be found on the Japanese Maples.


'Oshio Beni'

This small tree grows to 6 m (20 ft) and develops a spreading crown.  The new leaves are vibrant orange red that becomes a greenish bronze colour in summer.  It turns scarlet during autumn and the leaves have up to 7 lobes.


'Red Pygmy'

This slow growing shrub is smaller only growing to 2 m (6 ft) hight and wide.  Its long lasting colour is red-purple with slender lobes divided to the base.



Have prominent veins in dark green with pale cream to green leaves.


'Ribesifolium' (Shishigashira)

This slow growing upright tree with a broad crown has deep green glossy deeply cut leaves that are twisted and have coarsely serrated margins. During autumn the leaves turn golden-colour.



Spring foliage is ruby red, softening in summer.



This shrub is of a wide spreading habit with attractive green split leaves.


'Shishio Improved'

This large dense shrub is medium is stature and luminous red new growth becomes green upon maturity.



This small to medium sized shrub has deep 5 lobed immensely speckled leaves with pink and white margins.



Green foliage with white and pink mottled blotches.  Possibility of reversion.


'Villa Taranto'

This bush with a dome shaped habit has red new growth and contrasting green mature 5 lobed leaves.  



All Japanese maples belong to one of the following groups and generally defined by the leaf shape.


Amaoenum group

Plants that are loosely put into this group have shallow to moderately deep lobes up to two thirds of the leaf length.


Palmateum group

Plant in this group have moderately to deep divided leaves, from two thirds to three quarters of the leaf length.


Matsumurae group

Plants in this group have leaves that are very deeply cut, up to three quarters of the leaf length.


Linearilobum group

Plants in this group have narrow strap-like lobes that are divided to the leaf base.


Dissectum group

Plants in this group have deeply cut lobes that are dissected into sub-lobes and are generally have a weeping habit with a dome crown.


Dwarf group

Plants in this group grow only to 2 m (6 ft) tall the leaves are variable and may also fit into one of the above groups.


Japan, (Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu) southern Korea


Sapindaceae (sap-in-DAY-see-ee)

Litchi, Maple, Horse Chestnut and Hop Bush Family



This family of shrubs, trees and climbers are found predominately in tropical and subtropical regions up to an altitude of 3,600 m with some extending into temperate regions with the species Acer and Aesculus in Aceraceae and Hippocastanaceae now included.


Diagnostic Features

The leaves compound or simple with the compound leaves being paripinnate with 11 to 17 leaflets that are, ovate-lanceolate. The leaves are alternately arranged rarely opposite and lack stipules.  


The regular or irregular flowers are unisexual, normally polygamous and normally occur in cymose inflorescence. They have 3 to 6 sepals that are free or united and 3 to 6 petals that may be absent or imbricate in bud.  


The 8 to 10 stamens are inserted between the ovary and the disk and arranged in a whorl. The ovary is superior with fused carpals that are simple, lobed or divided. There are 3 locules that are normally attached to a central axis.  The style is filiform and simple or divided towards the top.  


The fruit is a capsule, nut, samara, drupe or berry and may be dry or succulent. The seeds lack endosperm and the embryo is folded or curved.



Many species are of economic importance and are grown for their seeds.

There are 1,811 species worldwide with 145 genera with 190 species and 27 genera found in Australia.


This plant tolerates between USDA zones 5a to 10a and grows to 5 m (15 ft)

Fahrenheit      -20º to 35º F

These temperatures represent the lowest average.

Celsius          -26.2º to 1.6º C



All photographs and data are covered by copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, reference or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any means with out written permission. All inquiries should be addressed to attention Peter Kirkland.




The leaf that is not divided.
Palmately lobed

Leaf Shape

Palmately lobed

When a simple leaf has lobes with the radiating major veins as midribs.

Leaf Arrangement


Arranged in pairs of opposite members, each pair turned at right angles to the succeeding pair.

Leaf Margin


When the leaf margin is sharply indented (like the teeth of a saw).
Mid green
60 - 120 mm ( 2.4 - 4.7 in )

Additional Information

The palmately leaves have 5, 7 or 9 acuminate lobes and the margin is incised (biserrate) and are up to 120 mm (4 ¾ in) long with a slender petiole to 40 mm (1 5/8 in) long. During late autumn the leaves turn red, orange or yellow and are less vibrant in warmer climates. 'Dissectum' leaves are finely serrated and lobed.



The small green to reddish buds appear in the base of the petiole.



Botanic Flower Description


A saucer shaped hollow.

Flower Inflorescence


An inflorescence that has all flowers brought more or less to a common level.
3 - 6 mm ( 0.1 - 0.2 in )

Flowering Season

(Southern Hemisphere)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Additional Information

The unisexual crateriform flowers have 5 sepals and 5 petals with 4 - 10 stamens and are arranged in a pendulous corymb or umbel that appears with new foliage during spring.



Fruit Type


This is a one seeded fruit with the pericarp extended to form a wing to assist in dispersal by wind."
Light brown
12 - 38 mm ( 0.5 - 1.5 in )

Fruiting Season

(Southern Hemisphere)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Additional Information

The light brown twin samara is joined at the base and has membranous wings and are up to 38 mm (1 ½ in) wide. They appear in small weeping clusters on the end of branches during autumn. The seeds are viable but the plant may be reproduced vegetatively.


Well drained but moist sandy to light clay loam, organic rich, pH 4.5-7.0
Tubs, large pots, planter box, protected roof gardens, bonsai subject
Full sun-semi shade, wind protected, drought tender, frost-cold tolerant
Cold - cool temperate
Leaf burn during hot wind, borers during stress, aphids on new growth

Cultural Uses

The Japanese Maple is grown for spreading crown and its autumn foliage colour. It is planted in parks and gardens as a lawn specimen or along avenues for shade and as an understory tree in a woodland setting. It is suitable for mountain or coastal regions tolerating a variety of moist soils. It has a slow growth rate establishing in 4 to 10 years and is long lived, up to 150 years. It is also commonly used as a bonsai subject or grown as a specimen in Japanese gardens. There are many cultivars available with varying leaf colour and growth habits. 



This plant is susceptible to Oblique-banded Leaf Roller, Wilt, Nectria Canker, Woolly Maple Aphid, Cotton Maple Scale, Lichens, Leaf Hopper, Japanese Beetle, Powdery Mildew, Forest Tent Caterpillar and Tar Spot.


General information on pruning Acer species

The Maples normally do not require regular pruning apart from damaged, diseased or dead wood removal and this should be carried out from autumn to winter. Pruning in late winter or spring may result in bleeding of the sap and should be avoided. Remove reverted branches in variegated trees and clean up split bark with a sharp knife and allow natural healing.


Only as necessary, train to a single leader for a tree habit, remove dead or damaged wood
Mulch during summer and keep moist, apply complete fertiliser during late winter


Sow fresh seed during spring and the seedlings may be used as rootstock for grafting or budding from winter to early spring. Plants may be transplanted during the dormant period.

Air layer is carried out on the lower branches for small quantities.


Propagation by Seed (General)


In order for a seed to germinate it must fulfil three conditions.


1. The embryo must be alive (a viable seed).


2. The seed must have no dormancy-inducing physiological, physical or chemical barrier to germination; also the seed must be nondormant.


3. The seed must have the appropriate environmental requirements, water, temperature and oxygen.

The interaction between these requirements and dormancy is complex and may lead to different environmental requirements that avoid the dormancy of a seed.


Sowing Seeds in Containers

There are two general methods for germinating seeds.


1. Sowing seeds in a flat or germinating bed, through which seedlings are pricked-out then, transplanted into another flat with wider spacing or directly to an individual pot.


2. Sowing seeds by placing them in to flats with the appropriate spacing or into individual pots.

This method is normally carried out with medium to large seeds such as woody plants and plants that are difficult to transplant.  

Seedling production normally occurs in a greenhouse / glasshouse, cold frames and on hot beds.


Method of Seed Sowing

Fine seed is sown in pots or flats that are no deeper than 70 to 80 mm. using a sterilised well-drained media (soil). Fill the container to 20 mm from the top and sprinkle sieved peat to 3 mm depth.

Press the media down level and firm with a piece of timber and then thoroughly moisten.


Mix the fine seed with washed sand and then sow thinly on the surface. These may be lightly covered with sand.

Larger seeds may be covered with media or a hole is dibbled and the seed is placed in the media.


Watering Methods

For watering you may either mist the containers from above or place the container in tepid water and allow the water to raise through the pot to the surface of the media, then drain away and do not fill to the top of the container.


Place a piece of glass over the pot and store in a protected warm environment (glasshouse).

Seeds germinate best in darkness so shade the containers if in direct sunlight.


After the seedlings have sprouted remove the glass and ease the seedlings into direct light.

When the seedlings are large enough prick them out and transplant into larger containers then place them in a shade house to harden off.


Many seeds have different methods of seed preparation for germination such as nicking or cutting the seed coat to allow water penetration, also placing seeds in hot water and allowing it to cool off.

This is particularly important as it is softening the seed coat.


Grafting and Budding (General)

Grafting and budding have many different purposes.


1. It produces clones that are otherwise unobtainable through cuttings, layering and division.


2. To gain the benefits of certain rootstocks.


3. Changing cultivars of established plants.


4. It accelerates the reproductive maturity of seedlings in a hybridisation program.


5. Repairing damaged parts of trees.


Grafting is the joining two pieces of living tissue as so they grow into a single living plant there is 5 requirements for a successful graft.  


1. The stock and the scion must be compatible.


2. The scion and stock must have good contact in the cambium region where they are held together by wrapping or wedging.


3. The graft must be carried out when the stock and scion are in the right physiological stage. A dormant bud and a stock that is capable of forming a callus.


4. Protect all cut areas after the grafting operation with wax or tape.


5. after care of the plant by the removal of shoots from below the graft.


Tools and Materials Required for Grafting.

1. Knives 

There are two types of knives, budding and grafting either folding or a fixed blade. A budding knife may do both jobs if required. The knife must be razor sharp and is usually honed on an, oil stone at a 20-deg angle.


2. Grafting Waxes 

The ideal grafting wax should adhere well, not wash off, crack, chip and still be pliable enough to allow the callus to grow. A darker wax is often used as the sun will warm it and thus it remains pliable.


When applying the hot wax be careful that the temperature is not extreme as to damage the living wood.

The wax is normally heated on a small burner then applied with a brush and there is an aerosol form available for small jobs.


3. Wrapping and Tying Materials 

String is a simple material to tie a graft in place. Waxed string is good as it adheres to the wax covering. The string should be strong enough to hold the scion in place but weak enough to be broken by hand.


Tape is cloth, adhesive or PVC. The nurseryman's adhesive is the most convenient as it can be used for tiering and sealing but do not apply to many layers as this will not disintegrate quickly causing constrictions.


Grafting Methods

Whip Grafting

This method is used for smaller material. The scion should contain 2 to 3 buds with the graft occurring in the smooth internode area.

The cut that is made at the top of the stock should be the same as the cut on the bottom of the scion.

These should marry together evenly with a reverse cut that forms interlocking tongues.

If the scion is smaller than the stock it should be placed to one side. After the graft is complete it is secured by wrapping or tying then waxing.


Splice Grafting

This is the same as whip grafting except there is no tongue only a slanted cut on both stock and scion.  


Side Graft

There are several methods for this but normally it involves the insertion of the scion into the side of the stock that is normally larger.


Cleft Grafting

This is an old method that works well for straight grained plants. It involves the cutting of the stock are right angles and splitting it with a large knife and inserting the prepared tapering wedged scion on the cambium layer. After the graft is complete it is sealed with wax.


Wedge Grafting

This type of grafting is carried out during late winter to early spring. The scion used should be 10 to 13 mm long and 8 to 12 mm thick with a wedge shape base that matches the stock cavity.

Using a large knife a wedge should be cut in to the side of stock as to create a 2 cm (1/16 in) long V shape which can be nocked out to form a cavity. More than one cut may be made around the edge of the stock to allow multiple grafts.


Matching the cambium layers on the stock and scion gently tapped into place tilting slightly outwards to ensure that the cambium layers cross.

After grafting is completed all exposed areas are to be covered in grafting wax to seal off.



This is a form of grafting that has only one bud and uses only a small section of the bark. It is carried out by slipping bark that is actively growing. The T-budding is a quick, reliable method and is widely used in commercial production.


Methods of Budding


1. T-Budding 

This commonly used method is carried out by making a vertical cut about 2.5 cm (1/10 in) long in the stock. A horizontal cut is then made at the top of the vertical cut and runs one third around the stock. Twist the knife to open the two flaps of bark.


Preparing the Bud

Use a sharp knife to slice 12 mm (1/2 in) below the bud up and under at a depth of about 25 mm (1 in) finishing just above the bud then a horizontal cut is made through the bark to release the bud.


Inserting the Bud into the Stock

The bud is inserted into the stock by pushing down and in side the T cut until the two horizontal cuts are even. The bud union is then tightly tied.


2. Inverted T-Budding 

This method is used in areas of high rainfall or where a plant weeps a lot. The budding method is the same as a normal T-Bud but has the advantage of draining well. It is important to insert the bud with the correct orientation.


2. Patch Budding 

Patch budding is carried out during late summer or spring. It involves removal of a piece of bark that is replaced with a bud of equal size. A special double bladed knife is used and this is normally carried out on larger plants.


Method of Patch Budding


1. The stock is cut about one third around with two parallel horizontal cuts using a double bladed knife.

Vertical cuts join the horizontal and the piece of bark is removed.


2. The bud is prepared in the same method and is removed by sliding it off from one side.


3. The bud is then inserted into the stock and may require trimming to form a tight fit.


4. The union is then wrapped or covered with wax revealing only the bud.


There are many variations of the patch bud,

Flute Bud

Ring Bud



Chip Budding

Chip budding is normally used before growth starts with small wood in early spring and as growth tappers during autumn.


Method of Chip Budding


1. Make a cut at 45 deg down and into the stock to a quarter the thickness. A second cut is made 25 mm (1 in) above going down and in to meet the base of the first cut.


2. The bud is cut in the same method creating a wedge that is the same size as the stock cut.


3. Remove the chip from the stock and place the matching bud into the stock


4. Wrap the union with tape and cover all exposed cuts.


Layering (General)

Factors associated with layering

1. Nutrition

The stem is still attached to the plant and the intact xylem supplies water nutrition. To initiate roots on an intact stem requires certain factors.


2. Stem Treatments

Adventitious roots are induced by the interruption of downward flow of nutrients and organic material from the leaves. Roots occur as if it is a cutting.


3. Light Exclusion

The best results occur with the stem continuously being covered with rooting medium.

Blanching - the covering of a stem that has already formed.


Etiolation - the growing of the stem (elongating) due to the absence of light.

Both of these methods are employed either singularly or together and may require phloem interruption to induce root formation.


Physiological Conditioning

Timing of root induction normally occurs at the end of the growing season as the carbohydrates are moving towards the roots.


Root formation depends on, continuous moisture, ample aeration and a moderate temperature in the rooting area.


Uses of Layering


1. To propagate plants that is naturally layer.


2. To propagate plants that doesn't root easily as cuttings.


3. To produce a large-size plant in a short time.


4. To produce a small number of good size plants with minimal propagation facilities.


Methods of Layering


Tip Layering

This method is used on plants that produce long arching canes. The tips of these canes are placed into a hole that is sloped on one side towards the plant. This is method is carried out towards the end of the growing period. The shoots are buried facing the blunt end of the hole.

The etiolated shoot form roots and a new vertical shoot occur.


Simple Layering

This type of layering is carried out during early spring with dormant one-year-old shoots or during autumn with mature new growth.

The branches are bent over to the ground and pegged in a hole. Root stimulating may be induced with, girdling, wiring, bending and notching.

The roots are produced through the first season and may be severe then lifted during autumn or the following spring.

It is advisable to stack the emerging shoot to maintain a good shaped plant.


Compound or Serpentine Layering

This is a simple layering method where the flexible stems are covered and exposed then covered again. This will produce several plants from the one branch.


Air Layering

This method is used to propagate tropical and sub-tropical plants. It is carried out during spring on the previous season's growth or in tropical conditions after the first new leaves are produced.

First, girdle or remove the bark on the stem about 20 mm (¾ in) long and ensure that the phloem, cambium layer is removed. Place sphagnum moss over the exposed branch and then covered with a piece of polyethylene film so that the folds join is facing down. The two ends are twisted around the branch and tied or taped up the branch so the water cannot seep in.

Aluminium foil may be also used for this procedure. The layer should be left till autumn, though this will depend on the growth rate of the plant.


When removing from the parent plant reduce the top part of the foliage in relation to the root size then pot up and place in a moist humid environment (misting bench). Harden off in a few weeks.


Mound Layering

This form of propagation is used in the production of rootstocks for, apple, pear, quince and gooseberries. The mother plant is planted in a small trench in rows one year before layering takes place.

The next spring the plants are cut back to ground level. Three to five shoots appear and when they reach 15 cm (3/5 in) a mixture of sawdust and loose soil is mounded half way up.

This action is carried out twice more, when shoots reach 30 cm (1 1/8 in) and during mid summer. In all cases the mounding should not exceed half the total hight of the shoot. Girdling 6 to 8 week into the growing period will encourage Roots to occur in the mound.

Layered shoots are cut away from the mother plant during autumn and planted in a nursery row.


Trench Layering

This is a form of layering used for woody plants that are difficult to root in mound layering. The method involves the mother plant being planted in a trench on a 30 deg. angle one year before layering.

The following year the plant is bent over and pegged in the trench flat. As new vertical shoots appear during spring they are systematically buried before the buds swell with a rooting medium of peat or sawdust soil mix. This causes etiolation and a second layer of medium should be applied to the shoots before the buds expand.

When the shoots reach 20 cm (7 ¾ in) a final layer of medium should be applied.

At the end of the season the rooting medium is removed and the rooted shoots are cut from the mother plant.


Natural layering


These are stems that grow horizontal from the mother plant and form new plants from a node that form its own root system. When these daughter plants root up in the soil they are dug up and planted as a new plant.



These are modified stems that grow horizontal to the ground or under the ground with nodes that can produce new plants as in a potato tuber. These can be cut away from the mother plant and form a new plant.



This is a lateral shoot that forms from at the base of the mother plant. Often referred to in bulbs as bulblets or lateral branching in monocotyledons and appear as thickened stems and are removed close to the main stem. These natural methods are slow but microporpagation in aseptic culture has greatly enhanced production.



The true meaning of a sucker is a shoot that comes from an adventitious bud on the roots, but generally it is referred to any shoots that arise from the crown of the plant. A sucker may be also seen as any shoot on a rootstock that is below the grafted section.

The method of removal is to dig out and cut it away from the mother plant with some roots attached to its base. It is then treated as a cutting, potted up and kept moist. This operation is normally carried out during the dormant period of the plant.


Crown Division

The crown is the part of the plant at the surface of the soil where new shoots arise. With lateral shoots the crown of some plants requires division when they become crowded.

Herbaceous perennials and multi-branched woody shrubs may develop large crowns that need dividing.

It is a simple method of propagation that is used by amateurs and professionals for a small increase in plants.

Plants that flower during spring to summer are divided during autumn and if flowering in summer to autumn they are divided in spring. The crown is dug up then cut with a knife in to sections, which has a shoot and abundant roots then planted or potted up. The crown may also be divided in some species by using a shovel to cut and dig sections out.


Various Aphid Species




     Various Aphid Species





Description of the Pest

The common name varies and aphids may be referred to as black fly, greenfly, ant cows or plant lice.

These small insects have soft globular body that is from 1mm to 8mm long and vary in colour from green, yellow, black and pink, with the winged forms being elongated. Both adult and nymphs, have piercing and sucking mouthparts.

Aphids are found on buds, flowers, or leaves and stems, preferring soft new growth. On older leaves the aphids are found in protected positions, such as under the leaf. Certain species of aphids form galls as they suck sap and may be found on the roots of the plant. (E.g. Woolly aphids and Black peach aphids)

Most aphids possess a pair of characteristic tubular projections, known as cornicles; these secrete a pheromone and a waxy fluid, which is thought to protect them from some of their predacious enemies.

White exoskeletons, honey dew and sooty mould indicate the presence of Aphids

Balsam Twig Aphid (Mindarus abietinus) is greenish and covered in a white wax and is normally found on the young shoots of conifers bending and killing the needles. It is found on Abies and Picea species.

Aphid and their exoskeletons    on underside of a leaf

Black Citrus Aphid (Toxoptera aurantii) has a soft plump green body and the black coloured adults may or may not be winged. They feed in groups, curling leaves and producing honeydew attracting sooty mould.

Green Peach Aphid (Myzus persicae) is a soft plump green insect up to 0.2mm long and may be wingless. The nymphs are yellowish green and are responsible for spreading viruses in Dianthus species.

Spruce Gall Aphid (Chermes abietis) form cone shaped galls up to 12mm long resulting from the feeding. The wingless female adult lays eggs on the stems and the immature females overwinter on bud scales. Large infestation will weaken trees such as Picea abies and Pseudotsuga menziesii.

Tulip Bulb Aphid (Anuraphis tulipae) is small, waxy grey coloured and infests the underside of the bulb scales or rhizomes. They occur in the ground or on above ground parts and during storage.

Life Cycle

These insects have a Hemimetabolous life cycle, i.e. The nymphs resemble the adults.

During spring all eggs produced hatch as female nymphs. Adult Aphids are capable reproducing without fertilisation.  The males are only produced in some species as the weather cools down, and the day length shortens.

Aphids are capable of giving birth to living young and large populations build up quickly during summer. Over crowding causes the aphids to become smaller, less fertile and produce more winged forms that can migrate to other host plants.

There are many different types of aphids and the life cycle varies from warm to cold climates.

Typical life cycles

Distribution of the Pest

World wide

Period of Activity

In warm climates they are seen throughout the year, but aphids dislike hot dry or cold conditions and heavy rain will decrease the population. In cold areas aphid eggs are laid around a bud base or other protected areas of the plant during autumn and emerge as nymphs during spring, feeding on the new growth.

Numbers build up quickly in the warmer months of the year. Some species feed during winter on Sow thistles.

Susceptible Plants

There is a wide range of plants attacked, from roses to vegetables, shrubs and trees. Certain aphids attack a specific genus while others have a wide range of host plants. Many are capable of transmitting plant virus diseases.

Adults and nymphs feeding    A colony of aphids

Acer species are attacked by several aphids including the Norway Maple Aphid (Periphyllus lyropictus) which is a greenish with brown markings and secret honeydew, preferring Acer platanoides. Other aphids include (Drepanaphis acerifolia) and (Periphyllus aceris) which are commonly found on the underside of leaves.

Acer species are also attacked by the Woolly Maple Aphid (Phenacoccus acericola) which covers the undersides of the leaves with a cotton-like mass

Alnus species are infested with the Alder Blight Aphid (Prociphilus tessellates) which is blue-black adult that forms woolly masses on the down-turned leaves. The nymphs overwinter in bark crevices.

Aquilegia species are attacked by several aphids including (Pergandeidia trirhoda) which is a small, flat cream coloured insect that is found on young branches and the underside of leaves.

Betula species may be attacked by the European Birch Aphid (Euceraphis betulae) which is small and yellowish or the Common Birch Aphid (Calaphis betulaecolens) which is large and green producing ample honeydew for sooty mold to grow on.

Callistephus species may be attacked by the Corn Root Aphid (Anuraphis maidi-radicis) causing the plant to become stunted, the leaves wilt and turn yellow. The aphids feed on the roots producing honeydew and are dispersed to other host by ants. It is also attacked by the Potato Aphid (Macrosiphum solanifolii).

Carya species are attacked by Gall Aphids (Phylloxera caryaecaulis) which is found on the leaves, twigs and stems forming galls and turning them black.

Chaenomeles and Gladiolus species, new growth and leaves become infested with the aphid (Aphis Gossypii)

Cupressus macrocarpa may become infested with the Cypress Aphid (Siphonartrophia cupressi).

Cyclamen species are attacked by the aphid (Myzus circumflexus) and (Aphis gossypii) which can infest healthy plants.

Dendranthema, Dianthus  and Crocus species are attacked by several types of aphid including the Green Peach Aphid (Myzus persicae) and the Chrysanthemum Aphid (Macrosiphoniella sanborni).

Hibiscus species are attacked by the aphids (Aphis craccivora)  and (Aphis gossypii), both congregate towards the branch tips and may cause leaf curl. Normally only seen in sub-tropical climates.

Aphids on a stem    Mandevilla species

Larix species is attacked by the Woolly Larch Aphid (Adelges strobilobius). The winged adults deposit eggs at the base of the needles during spring and white woolly areas appear attached to the needles where the adult aphids feed. The young aphids overwinter in the crevices of the bark.

Mandevilla species is attacked by aphids that congregate towards the branch tips and may cause leaf curl.

Pinus species is attacked by several species of aphid including Pine Bark Aphid (Pineus strobi), Pine leaf Aphid (Pineus pinifoliae) and the White Pine Aphid (Cinara strobi).

Primula species are attacked by four species of aphid including foxglove, and green peach aphid.

Rudbeckia, Delphinium, Chrysanthemum and Helianthus species are attacked by a bright red aphid (Macrosiphum rudbeckiae).

Sorbus aucuparia is affected by the Rosy Apple and Woolly Apple aphid which attacked the foliage and young shoots.

Spiraea species are attacked by the Aphid (Aphis spiraecola) which feeds on the young shoots and flowers.

Tropaeolum species are attacked by the Black Bean Aphid (Aphis fabae), which is found in large numbers on the underside of the leaves, turning them yellow and causing them to wilt then die.

Tulipa, Iris, Freesia, Gladiolus and Zephyranthes species are infested with the Tulip Bulb Aphid.

Ulmus species are infected by two types the Woolly Apple Aphid (Eriosoma lanigerum), which curls and kills young terminal leaves and the Elm Leaf-Curl Aphid (Eriosoma ulmi) which occasionally attacks the trees.

Viburnum species are attacked by the Snowball Aphid (Anuraphis viburnicola). This aphid congregates at the end of the branches causing the leaves to curl and become deformed under which they hide.

Aphids on Quercus robur

Damage Caused

Buds that have been attacked may not open, leaves and twigs become twisted or distorted and wilt. The aphids also produce honeydew, which is sticky and attracts sooty mould (fungus). This fungus forms a thick layer over the leaf, fruit or stems reducing the plants photosynthesis capability. The sooty mould spoils the plants appearance and its fruit, as does the insects white exoskeletons.


Cultural Control

Aphids may be removed from a plant by hosing them off with water (limited success) or applying soapy water to aphids.. Another organic sprays can be efficient in controlling aphids. Aphids  may also be removed physically by hand for small colonies on spine less plants. Species that live under ground are difficult to control but cultivation of the surrounding soil may help in controlling the infestation. (limited mainly to annual or commercial crops)

Reflective mulch around the plants also reduces numbers by repelling the insect this material is available commercially. (Reflective mulches are mainly used in market gardens for avoiding the Green peach Aphids) Resistant rootstocks are available to avoid some root feeding aphid of commercial plants, e.g. Vines and fruit trees

Biological control

Aphids are attacked by several insects includes parasitic wasps or predators such as ladybirds/ lady beetles, hover flies, lacewings, spiders.

   Parasitised aphids

Chemical Control

Aphids may be controlled by spraying with a contact or systemic insecticide. The type of application used will depend on the plant is being attacked.

Aphids can be suffocated and therefore controlled with the use of e.g. White oil, Pest oil, Soapy water from soap such as Lux Flakes ®


It is your responsibility by law to read & follow the directions on the label of any pesticide


Aphid are attracted by yellow colour and traps such as boards painted yellow and covered in glue or sticky substance will attract and trap the insects.  There is also a commercially sticky yellow tape that can be attached to susceptible plants

Amendments by B. Sonsie Dip Hort Sc Burnley

Borer (General)
Various Borer Species




     Borer (General)

     Various Borer Species








Description of the Pest

Generally the larvae bore holes into the heartwood, sapwood or down the centre of twigs. These tunnels may be small or large, deep or shallow and when they emerge from their tunnels at night, they feed on the surrounding tissue. Entrance holes may be covered by a layer of chewed wood fragments ("frass"), silk webbing or exposed and the tunnels may be solitary or form galleries. Certain species attack only twigs and young shoots, while others attack the trunk or roots.


Fruit tree moth borer damage


The adults female of a fruit tree moth borer normally deposits eggs in damaged areas of the bark or where there is and existing active site. The larvae vary but generally they are creamy to brown, thick soft grub-like reddish brown, and up to 40mm in length.

The adults are white, satiny moths with 40-60mm wingspans with their black abdomens fringed with orange-brown hair or beetle lava that has been deposited in the bark or twigs then tunnels the host.


American Plum Borer (Euzophera semifuneralis) lava is pinkish white to brownish green and attacks the inner bark and cambium region of the tree causing premature death. It is normally found on Platanus orFraxinus species and may also infest many species of fruit trees.


Apple Root Borer (Leptopius squalidus) female adult is a weevil to 20mm long and feeds on the leaves and the plump, legless grub-like lava feeds on the roots of the same host forming tunnels in the deep roots. It is commonly found on Acacia and Eucalyptus species damaging the anchorage of the plant.


Banksia Borer (Cyria imperialis) adult is a black beetle with yellow markings on its wing covers growing to 15mm long. The thickish legless lava is white, tapering from the head and forms flattened tunnels into the heartwood of the host.


Bronze Birch Borer (Agrilus anxius) is a bronze coloured beetle up to 14mm long and lays eggs in crevices in the bark. The legless white larva grows to 20mm long and feeds on the sapwood girdling the branch with flat irregular galleries.


Cedar Tree Borer (Semanotus ligneus) is a black beetle with orange and red markings on its wing covers and grows to 12mm long. The larva feeds on the sapwood of Sequoia, Thuja species and Pinus radiata with curved tunnels that may girdle branches.


Chestnut Borer (Agrilus bilineatus) adult is a tiny slender, blackish green beetle up to 8mm long emerging during spring. The small white larvae have a flat head and are up to 15mm long, forming galleries under the bark of Quercus species.


Cypress Bark Beetle (Phloeosinus cupressi) adult is dark brown with a blackish head, oblong in shape up to 3mm long. The tiny beetles tunnels under the bark of the host and deposits eggs. After hatching the tiny 4mm long, legless larvae bore into the heartwood damaging the tree. After they pupate in the tunnel they emerge through small round holes, commonly many together on the trunk. Damaged trees show signs of browning and dead leaves in the upper branches or falling damage twigs. Cupressus species are particularly vulnerable to attack.


Deodar Weevil (Pissodes nemorensis) is brownish with an obvious snout feeding on the cambium layer and deposits eggs in the bark of the leader and branches. The white lava tunnel the wood eventually killing the leader.


European Corn Borer (Pyrausta nubilalis) is a small moth that lays up to twenty eggs on flower buds. The young flesh coloured larvae mature to a reddish brown and each of its segment has four, spined dark spots.


Elephant Weevil (Orthorhinus cylindrirostris) is a grey or black insect up to 20mm long and lays eggs in the bark near the base of stressed trees. The larva tunnels its way through roots or trunks depositing frass as it goes, then emerging from a second round hole. The adults eat strips from the leaves, normally not bothering the plant.


Elm Borer (Saperda tridentate) adult is a greyish beetle with red bands and black spots on its wing covers and is up to 12mm long. The eggs are laid on the bark and the whitish lava tunnels into the bark and sapwood where it overwinters. It is normally found on Ulmus species.


Iris Borer (Macronoctua onusta) is born from a grey moth with a wing span up to 30mm across, and lays eggs that overwinter in old leaves and debris. As the leaves emerge the eggs hatch entering the leaves at the base, visually forming tunnels and growing to 30mm long. In the later season flower buds may be attacked. Both flowers and leaves eventually turn brown and die.


Lilac Borer (Podosesia syringae) adult is a wasp-like moth that produces pure white lava with a brown head that are up to 25mm long. It initially feeds in the sapwood causing wilting before tunnelling the hardwood making the branches brittle. Evidence of frass is found at the tunnel entrance and secondary fungal attacks infect the holes. Normally found on Syringa species.


Locust Borer (megacyllene robiniae) adult is a black beetle with golden spots, up to 20mm long and produces a small larva that tunnels galleries into the sapwood causing a blackish discolouration. Robinia species are normally attacked.


Mottled Borer (Cryptorhynchus lapathi) attacks Salix species. The adult beetle is black up to 10mm long and the lava bore into the surface of the stem causing swollen growth. Salix species are attacked.


Murry Pine Borer can be two species (Diaoxus erythrurus) and (Diaoxus scalaris). The adults are glossy green-brown beetles that are up to 20mm long and the white grub-like lava is legless, tapering from the head. They tunnel into the sap or hardwood of the trees forming connecting galleries causing ringbarking and creating brittle branches, commonly fond on Callitris species.


Peach Borer (Sanninoidea exitiosa) is a larva that tunnels roots causing gummosis that is mixed with frass at the crown just below soil level. The affected Prunus species produce yellowish leaves and grows poorly. There is another borer, Lesser Peach Borer (Synanthedon pictipes) which attacks any part of the plant from the trunk to the branches and is found on several Prunus species.


Puriri Moth (Aenetus Virescens) a New Zealand short lived moth that grows with a wing span of over 100mm (4in) wide laying eggs on the forest floor at night during spring. The caterpillars grow  to 100mm long feeding on leaves and  then ascending into the trees and entering the cambium layer up to 150mm deep forming a characteristic '7'-shape burrow that is concealed by frass. The caterpillar may live for 7-years before pupating and collectively they ring bark branches or trunks causing dieback.

Many New Zealand plants including Nothofagus solandri, Pomaderris spp.and ornamentals such as Quercus spp. Betula pendula, Salix spp. Populus spp. Acer spp. Citrus limon and Paulownia spp. are attacked. Control is difficult and generally the plants tolerate attack.


White Pine Weevil (Pissodes strobi) lava feed on the inner bark and sap wood of terminal shoots causing ringbarking and death of the shoot. The reddish brown beetle up to 6mm long is mottled in white and emerges during early summer then lays yellowish lava that are up to 9mm long.


Scribble Moth (Ogmorgraptis scribula) is a grey moth up to 0.4mm wide and produces a cream to brown larvae that is also about 0.4mm long and tunnels in the bark causing a scribble effect. This normally has no detrimental effect on the tree.


Spotted Hemlock Borer (Melanophila fulvoguttata) adult is a colourful metallic beetle with yellowish red spots on the wing covers and lays eggs in cracks in the bark. The white lava is up to 14mm long and forms galleries in the bark and sapwood of the host.


The large Swift Moth and Wood Moths can have a wing span up to 250mm wide and produce large larva that are grub like up to 150mm long, some with horny plates on the thorax. These larvae bore tunnels that are up to 30mm across straight through the heartwood of the host plant. The larvae may live in the tunnel for up to five years before pupating.


Red Cedar Bark Beetle (Phloesinus dentatus) is a small beetle up to 3mm long and lays its larva in excavations in the bark. When the larva emerges they bore galleries in the bark and tend to be more prevalent in stressed or recently transplanted plants.


Vegetable Weevil (Listroderes difficilis) is found during cooler weather (spring or autumn). The adult brown beetle up to 19mm long with a "V" mark on its back and the eggs are laid in the soil around the base of the host plant. The cream coloured lava emerges in spring after rain and feed on the lower leaves forming irregular holes or chewing holes in stems. The lava also feed on fleshy roots boring holes into carrots. Both the adults and lava cause damage, feeding on the plant during the night and resting at the base or under ground during the day. The lava pupates in the soil over winter.


Wattle Web-covering Borer (Cryptophasa rubescens) adult is a satin coloured moth that is up to 50mm across and deposits green fleshy lava that is up to 35mm long. The lava forms shallow tunnels in the bark and sap wood of the host and camouflages it with chewed wood and faeces that is webbed together. Commonly seen attacking the branches on Acacia species.


Life Cycle

These insects have normally have a Holometabolous life cycle. But some borers such as Termites have a Hemimetabolous life cycle.

Eggs are laid singly or in groups, in damaged areas of the bark and branch. Larvae shelter in tunnels they create in the wood and some species may take many years to pupate and emerge as an adult. This may take place in live or dead wood.  Other species such as Corn Borer can have up to two generations per year.


Termites and their damage


Distribution of the Pest

Borers are found throughout the world with many species found in Australia both on the coast and inland.


Period of Activity

Varies with the insect concern. Many larvae can be active for many months. Termites are active all year.


Damage Caused

Most damage appears on branches or trunks where the larvae feed on the soft tissue and extensive feeding may cause ring-barking. Normally plants survive borer attack but repetitive attack will cause the death. Certain species are a serious pest in plantations or monocultures such as the Pine Bark Weevil, and the Sirex wood wasp.


Typical borer damage by a moth larva


Chestnut Borer feeds on the sap wood ringbarking large branches and overwinters in the tunnels.


Corn Borer feeds on flower buds and leaves resulting in there death, after which the larva tunnel down the stem causing wilting. There are many crop plants and ornamentals that are affected by this larva.


Swift Moth and Wood Moths weaken trees by boring large tunnels through the branches that may not be noticed until holes are cut through the bark during emergence.


Iris Borer damages leaves to turn brown and wilt, flowers also turn brown and with the aid of a bacterial rot, collapse and die. This damage may be extended to the flower stalk.  


Stem Borer (Papaipema nebris) is a small lava to 12mm long, and attacks many garden plants including Lilium, Aster, Alcea and Phlox species


Borer Damage          Resin oozing from a trunk


Susceptible Plants

There are many plants that are attacked by these pests including Banksia, Callistemon, Melaleuca, Lagerstroemia, Jacaranda species, and flowering stonefruit. Eucalyptus, Acacia species and many ornamental such as Acer species. Plants that are stressed, are particularly venerable.


Acacia and Eucalyptus species are attacked by Swift Moths and Wood Moths.


Acacia species are susceptible to attack from the Wattle Web-covering Borer (Cryptophasa rubescens), which weakens and causes die back of branches.


Acer platanoides is attacked by the Leaf Stalk Borer (Nepticula albostriella) that tunnels into the petiole of the leaf turning it blackish and also attacks the fruit.


Acer saccharinum is attacked by the Petiole Borer (Caulocampus acericaulis) which tunnels in the petioles. It generally attacks the leaves on the lower branches causing them to fall.


Acer species may also be attacked by several borers including the Flat Headed Borer (Chrysobothris femorata), a 25mm long lava of a coppered coloured beetle, that tunnels galleries under the bark girdling the trees The Sugar Maple Borer (Glycobius speciosus) which girdles branches killing them and the Leopard Moth (Zeuzera pyrina) lava that tunnels large holes into branches making them structurally weak. This lava can grow to 80mm long and 12mm thick overwintering in the tunnels.


Banksia species are attacked by the Banksia Web-covering Borer (Xylorycta strigata) a greenish lava up to 40mm long that tunnels down the centre of branch tips. The entrance is covered in silken web littered with faecal material and causes the death of the branchlets.


Betula and Populus species are attacked with the Bronze Birch Borer (Agrilus anxius) and heavy infestation may kill the tree. Populus species are also attacked by the Poplar Borer (Saperda calcarate).


Brachychiton species are attacked by the Kurrajong Weevil (Axionicus insignis) the lava of this plump greyish weevil is white and legless, entering the plant through wounds forming rounded tunnels that may girdle the tree, killing it.


Carya species are attacked by the Painted Hickory Borer (Megacyllene caryae). The adult dark brown beetle has obvious zig zag lines on its wing covers and the lava is cream coloured, both up to 20mm long. The lava tunnels the sapwood of living trees causing ring barking and also tunnels dead trees.


Cornus species are attacked by several borers such as the Flat Headed Borer (Chrysobothris femorata) and the Dogwood Borer (Thamnosphecia scitula).


Cupressus species are attacked by the Cypress Bark Beetle (Phloeosinus cupressi) causing the branches to turn brown and die off from the top or causing the leaves to wilt. On first indication of infestation selective prune off damaged areas or remove the tree.


Hakea sericea and other Hakea species are attacked by the Web-covering Borer (Neodrepta luteotactella). The larvae bore into the twigs and fruit forming a small covering of frass. This insect also infects Macadamia species. Hakeas are also attacked by several other web-covering borers.


Hakea sericea


Pinus and Picea species are attacked by the White Pine Weevil (Pissodes strobi) in the northern hemisphere.


Samanea saman is attacked by the borer (Xystrocera globosa) which chews into the sap wood of stressed trees and can cause serious damage.


Sorbus aucuparia is attacked by the Round Headed Borer (Saperda candida) which forms galleries in the trunk at ground level, forming round holes in the bark.


Tilia species are attacked by the European Bark Borer (Chrysoclista linneela), which feeds on the bark and thew Linden Borer (Saperda vestita) that attacks the base of the trunk or roots.


Tsuga species are attacked by Spotted Hemlock Borer (Melanophila fulvoguttata).


Vaccinium ovatum is infested by the Azalea Stem Borer (Oberea myops). The yellowish lava of this beetle bores into the tips of stems during the flowering period and is up to 12mm (½in) long. It is also commonly found on Rhododenron species.




Cultural Control

Larvae may be destroyed after exposure by pulling away the covering pad of frass, or by pushing a length of wire into the tunnel. Damaged branches may be removed. Improve the culture by feeding and watering the plant.


Frass due to the Fruit tree moth borer


Biological Control

No effective biological control though certain species of trees exude gum or resin sealing the holes and limiting the activity of the larvae or causing its death.


Chemical Control

There is no satisfactory chemical control most borers of live wood.


It is your responsibility by law to read & follow the directions on the label of any pesticide

Caterpillars (General)
Various species



     Caterpillars (General)

     Various species

Description of the Pest

There are many types of caterpillars from moths or butterflies, cutworms, bag moths, case moths, leaf rollers leaf skeletonises. The larvae generally eat leaves, seeds, flowers or buds by chewing out pieces. The size of the piece will depend on the size of the caterpillar and generally they are voracious eaters. The method of eating varies such as the leaf skeletoniser which leaves a network of veins or whole leaves are consumed.

The larvae have mainly 4 or 5 pairs of prolegs except Loopers which have 2 -3 pairs of prolegs. The number of prolegs can help in identifying the insect.

Small and Large Types     

Casuarina Moth (Pernattia exposita) is gregarious, brown with a large head and tufts of hairs that line the slender body. It grows to 25 mm long and forms a tightly woven cocoon on the side of branchlets. The large female adult moth has a stocky body and generally slow moving, the male is smaller.

The larvae cause extensive damage to A. littoralis, A. stricta, C. cunninghamiana, C. glauca, and C. equisetifolia.

The hairy larva feed on the 'leaves" phyllodes, and stems, this can lead to ringbarking and death of branches.


Place sheets on the ground and disturb (shake) the tree for the larva drop to the ground on silken threads.

Spruce Budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana) is a reddish brown with a yellow stripe on its side and chews on the opening buds and the needles of the host. The adult moth is dull grey with brown bands and spots on the wings, appearing in early summer.  The larva is very destructive in northern hemisphere coniferous forests.

Banksia Moth (Danima banksiae) is a caterpillar up to 60 mm long and is brown with black and white markings on its sides and when disturbed it arch backwards and reveal an extruded red underside, close to its head. The grey adult moth has an orange coloured body with a wing span that is up to 80mm across with black and white markings.

Banana moth (Opogona sacchari) is in the order Lepidoptera. This nocturnal moth as a wing span up to 25 mm wide and is bright yellowish brown with a dark brown spot on the wings.  It has a life cycle that lasts approximately 3 months with the eggs hatching in 12 days and the whitish larva with a reddish brown head is up to, 26 mm long, and lives for 50 days at 15° C. In warmer climates life cycle is quicker with up to eight generations per season. The female moth uses a ovipositor to lay up to 500 eggs in groups of five amongst the crevices of the plant. The voracious larvae tunnel into the plant, avoiding light.  In bananas it infests developing fruit and in ornamental plants it prefers the fleshy stems, particularly in cacti, begonias, African violets and is also a serious pest of Pritchardia and Chamaedorea species. Symptoms include tunnelling activity, which may be difficult to see then dead areas appear on the stems. As the caterpillars destroyed xylem tubes leaves begin to wilt and the plant may collapse and die. In European countries it is a glasshouse pest that is controlled chemically.

Pritchardi species      Banana moth larvae

European Pine Shoot Moth (Rhyacionia buoliana) lays eggs on Pinus species during late spring on the new buds and the emerging caterpillars in late summer feed on the shoots causing them to fold and become deformed, eventually dieing.  A major problem in the pine forests of the northern hemisphere

Large Grass Yellow Butterfly (Eurema hecabe) is a small attractive yellow butterfly. with a wing span of 40 mm that lays its eggs on the feathery leaves on Acacia species such as A. baileyana, (Cootamundra wattle), A. spectabilis (glory wattle). Other plant foods include Cassia spp, Caesalpinia spp, Senna spp. Albizia julibrissin (silk tree) A. paraserianthes (Albizia) sp Aeschynomene sp (Budda pea), Indigofera australis (Australian indigo's), Sesbania cannabina (yellow pea-bush), Senna surattensis (Glossy shower), Leucaena leucocephala (wild tamarind).

The small lava are up to 15mm long, green with white lateral bands and feed on the leaves at night in small groups, hiding under the leaves during the day. Large infestations may strip trees and require control. The larva of this insect does not feed on grasses. The adults are important pollinators of many Australian native plants. Various sub species of this insect are found through out Asia.

Gypsy Moth (Porthetria dispar) lava is a hairy grey caterpillar that is marked with blue and red dots along its back and can grow to 75mm long. It is capable of defoliating large trees and is a major problem for several species. A major problem in the northern hemisphere.

Lawn Armyworm

Lawn Armyworm (Spodoptera mauritia) is a plump, smooth caterpillar that is darkish brown to black with multiple stripes and pattens along its body. It can grow to 50mm long and tapers from the head. They are gregarious and move around in groups, like an army. If disturbed the larva drop to the ground and curl up, "faking death"  The larva pupate in the soil. They are a pest of grasses and monocotyledon crops mainly.

This insect is also found throughout Asia.


Drench a known area with old fashion soap 2L / 1000 cm 2. Note the numbers of larvae emerging.

Oblique-banded Leaf Roller (Choristoneura roseceana) lava feeds on the leaves and forms a nest by drawing the leaf margins together using silk threads. The adult moth is up to 25mm across the wingspan and is reddish brown with three darker brown bands across the wings. This is a problem in the apple growing areas of North America. It feeds on Maples, hawthorns, crab apples, Blackberry (bramble) and raspberries.

Red Humped Caterpillar (Schizura concinna) is a lava has a red head and humps with yellow and black strips on the body. It grows from eggs that were laid on the underside of leaves by the adult greyish brown moth that has a wing span up to 30mm across.

Tailed Emperor Caterpillar (Polyura pyrrhus spp. sempronius) adult is a large butterfly with a wing span up to 110 mm with four long tapering tails and the rear of the wings. The fleshy caterpillar with four obvious backward facing horns on a shield shape head. It is dark green with yellowish bands and transversal stripes over its back and grows up to 80 mm in length.

It is commonly found solitary or in small groups. Found over much on mainland Australia. The adults are attracted to overripe fruits they become drunk on this and so are easy to capture. The larvae feed on many plants including, Acacia baileyana (Cootamundra Wattle, A. spectabilis (Glory wattle), Delonix regia (Poinciana), Cinnamomum camphora (Camphor laurel) Robinia pseudoacacia (Black or false locust) Lagerstroemia indica (Crepe Myrtle), Argyrodendron actinophyllum (Black booyong), Celtis spp (Hackberry), Brachychiton spp (Kurrajongs) Gleditsia triacanthos (Honey locust).

Verbena Moth (Crambodes talidiformis) lays its eggs on the outside of the plant and the small green caterpillar that attacks seed pods by entering and eating the contents. It half emerges while pupating appearing as a small brown bump circled by a black ring. Native to North America

White Tussock Moth (Hemerocampa leucostigma) produces lava that is up to 50mm long. It has a red head with a yellow body that is marked in black and has four tufts of hair. The caterpillars pupate on the branches and the eggs laid by the adult moth overwinter on the trunk and are covered in a white waxy material. They are found on Aesculus species. A pest in North America of Oaks.

Life Cycle

This insect has a Holometabolous life cycle, i.e. it has a larval and a pupal stage.

Distribution of the Pest

Many species are found throughout the world from tropical to temperate regions and most of the adults are capable of by flying

Many hairy caterpillars can be irritating      Leaf Skeletonised

Period of Activity

Most active during the warmer months from spring to autumn.


Damage Caused

Leaf Rollers

Caterpillar Inside a Tomato

Susceptible Plants

A wide range of native and exotic plants are attacked and can be a major problem in commercial crops or turf grasses. Plants with soft-textured foliage (eg vegetables, some indoor plants) are preferred, but trees and shrubs are commonly attacked.

Malvaceae Abutilon spp, Hibiscus spp and other members of the family are attacked by the castor oil looper, Croton caterpillar (Achaea janata) which feed on leaves. The tip borer Cotton tipworm (Crocidosema plebejana), Rough bollworm (Earias huegeliana) which feeds on young stems, flowers and seeds. A leaf miner (Phyllonorycter spp)

Acer saccharinum and Fagus species are attacked in North America by the Maple Leafcutter (Paraclemensia acerifoliella) that forms a small cocoon in leaves that it skeletonises.

In Australia Case moths and Painted apple moths (Teia anartoides)

Ailanthus altissima is attacked by the Cynthia Moth (Samia cynthia) light green lava, which eats leaves and the Ailanthus Webworm (Atteva aurea) which are olive-brown caterpillars that form web nests in the leaves.

Antirrhinum species are attacked by the Leaf Tier (Udea rubigalis) lava. This caterpillar eats pieces out of leaves and binds them together forming a nest. It is more commonly found in glasshouse culture.

Berberis species may become infested with the Barberry Worm (Omphalocera dentosa). This small caterpillar is black with white spots, up to 14mm long and feeds on young shoots and leaves. It also binds the shoots with a silken thread to form a nest.

Betula species are attacked by the Leaf Skeletonizer (Bucculatrix canadensiella). The small adult moth has brown wings with a whitish underside and its yellow green, 7mm long lava skeletonise the undersides of the leaf turning it brown.

Brachychiton, Senna and feathery-leaved Acacia species are attacked by the Tailed Emperor Caterpillar, particularly in dryer periods.

Catalpa species are attacked Catalpa Sphinx (Ceratomia catalpae). This large yellow and black Caterpillar grows to 76mm long and attacks the leaves.  Large infestations can completely stripped a tree and control is carried out by spraying.

Calendula and Canna species are attacked by the Woollybear Caterpillar (Diacrisia virginica) which has yellow and black lines down its body is up to 50mm long and eats the leaves or flower buds. In Canna species the chewed holes tend to be in a straight line across the leaf.

Celtis species are attacked by the Spiny Caterpillar (Nymphalis antiopa) which is reddish, up to 50mm long and feeds on the leaves at the top of branched in groups.

Cheiranthus species are attacked by the Diamond-backed Moth (Plutella maculipennis) lava, which is a small green caterpillar to 14mm long that feeds on the underside of leaves and may form a shot hole appearance. It forms a small cocoon to pupate in and in cooler climates it may be found in glasshouses.

Cotinus, Fraxinus, Betula, Cornus, Crataegus, Aesculus, Tilia, Acer, Quercus and Populus species are susceptible to attacked by the Oblique-banded Leaf Roller (Archips rosaceana)

Iris and Antirrhinum species are attacked by Verbena Moth.

Picea, Abies, Tsuga and Pinus species are attacked by Budworm commonly found in the northern hemisphere.

Populus and Carya species are attacked by the Red Humped Caterpillar which chews the leaves.

Quercus species are attacked by several caterpillars including Saddleback Caterpillar (Sibine stimulea) and Datana Caterpillar (Datana ministra) that feed on the leaves.

Samanea saman is attacked by several caterpillars (Ascalapha odorata, Polydesma indomita and Melipotis indomita). These caterpillars defoliate the tree but cause no long term problems.

Spiraea, Fraxinus, Betula, Cornus, Crateagus, Acer, Quercus and Populus species are attacked by the Oblique-banded Leaf Roller.

Ulmus, Salix, Crateagus, Tilia, Quercus and Populus species, Pseudotsuga menziesii are attacked by the Gypsy Moth (Porthetria dispar).

Ulmus species are attacked by the Spring Cankerworm (Paleacrita vernata), which chews the leaves during spring and the Fall Cankerworm (Alosphila pometaria), which also eats the leaves during autumn. Ulmus  species are also attacked by several caterpillars including the lava of the Leopard Moth (Zeuzera pyrina) and the Tussock Moth (Hemerocampa leucostigma).

Cultural Control

Small numbers may be removed by hand and squashed while others species such as the Casuarina Caterpillar drop to the ground when disturbed by hitting with a stick or shaking the plant. On the ground they can be squashed or collected and placed in a bucket of soapy water.  All rubbish around plants and glasshouses should be cleared as certain moths overwinter in such places.

Biological Control

There are many natural predators that reduce numbers including birds, lizards, frogs; other predators are wasps, viruses, and fungi.

Chemical Control

The small plant may be sprayed using Pyrethrum-based insecticide to reduce numbers or dusted with an equally environmental friendly chemical. In severe cases crops may be sprayed with Carbaryl.


Always read the label for registration details and direction of use prior to application of any chemicals.

Bag Shelter Moths
Various Bag Moths Species



     Bag Shelter Moths

     Various Bag Moths Species



Description of the Pest

There many caterpillars that constructs a shelter that they live in and also acts as protection from predators. These caterpillars feed solitary or are gregarious emerging at night to feed.  The caterpillars (larva) have chewing mouth parts.

Bagworm (Thyridopterix ephemeraeformis) adult is a moth that produces caterpillars that construct a small elongated shelter from pieces of the host's leaves and enlarges to 80mm long, as the lava grows. The eggs overwinter in an old female bag and many plants are attacked such as Thuja and Abies species.

Bluegrass Webworm (Crambus teterrellus) is the larvae of the closed winged moth. Deposited bead-like eggs hatch in 10 days and the emerging lava feed on the leaves of Turf Grass. They then construct a silken tunnelled nest close to the soil and disguised with soil, leaf fragments and droppings.  The larvae pupate in a cocoon under ground for 14 days. Infested lawns such as Stenotaphrum secundatum (St Augustine) have a ragged appearance and areas may die off completely.

Forest Tent Caterpillar (Malacosoma disstria) are bluish with white diamond-shaped spots along its back, feeding solitary on leaves and unlike the Eastern Tent Caterpillar nests are not built by binding twigs together, but by surrounds a single branch.

Juniper Webworm (Dichomeris marginalla) is a small larva to 12mm long and is brown with reddish brown longitudinal stripes. They form bags by webbing twigs and needles and appear during summer. The eggs are laid by a female adult moth with a wing span of 10mm and the immature larvae overwinter.

Procession Caterpillars or also known as Itchy Caterpillar (Ochrogaster contraria) is a fleshy caterpillar that grows up to 50mm long and is named because of its procession habit when moving about head to tail. It appears banded in reddish brown stiff hairs that are long and irritate skin on contact. The adult brown moth has a wing span up to 50mm across with two spots on its forewings.

Larva constructs large obvious shelters or bags using the twigs and leaves towards the end of the branches. These bags have some stiff hairs that cause irritation, old casts and have a mud brick-like appearance.

Tentmaker (Ichthyura inclusa) adult female moth is grey wings that are white striped and produces a black larva with yellow stripes. The larvae construct silken nests by binding twigs together and feed on the surrounding leaves. Commonly found in Populus species.  A simular caterpillar The Eastern Tent Caterpillar (Malacosoma americanum) is found on Cherry trees.

Webbing Caterpillar is up to 25mm long with numerous black hairs along its body and constructs shelters that incorporate stems and leaves, becoming larger as the larvae grows. The silk ties are littered with debris and excrement. The adult moth is greyish with small markings on the wings.

Life Cycle

These insects have a Holometabolous life cycle, i.e. an egg, larval, pupal and adult stage

The insect commonly pupates inside the bag, some pupate in the soil.

Distribution of the Pest

Larvae are active from mid summer through autumn, regardless of the climatic conditions.

They are found throughout coastal and inland Australia but the species vary with the climatic environment.. The moths fly to new areas aided by the wind and larva of certain species walk to a new host when the old one is depleted of food.

Gregarious larvae      Typical bag shelter

Period of Activity

Larvae shelter in the bag, where they feed during the day; they leave their shelter to continue feeding at night on the surrounding foliage.

Damage Caused

Larvae eat the leaves of shrubs or trees and a heavy infestation can cause complete defoliation. Ugly bags hang or are wrapped around the plant sometimes in large numbers.  The shelters can be up to 300mm across and are constructed of twigs and leaves that are curled or joined together with silken thread, commonly look unattractive.

Leaves damaged by the larvae

Susceptible Plants

A wide range of plants are attacked by these moths and include Brachychiton , Acacia, Baeckea , Beaufortia, Juniperus, Kunzea, Leptospermum, Melaleuca  and Syncarpia species. The larva nest in the host plant or at the base and normally feed at night.

Nest at base of Acacia spp.      Hairy caterpillar

Acer, Betula, Quercus and Populus species are susceptible to the Forest Tent Caterpillar.

Cotoneaster species are attacked by Webworm (Cremona cotoneaster) lava which skeletonises the leaves.

Turf grasses are susceptible to an infestation of Sod Webworm (Herpetogramma licarsisalis). It is a sporadic pest that appears from late summer to autumn. The adult is moth is grey-brown with black spots and has wings are up to 25mm across with transverse dark wavy lines. It flies during the night depositing eggs.  The larva (caterpillars) feed on the leaves and construct a silken nest close to the ground where they live out there lives. When fully fed the larvae are up to 25mm long, green brown with dark spots displayed on its body.


Cultural Control

Cut bags from the tree during daylight and destroy.

Use gloves as some bags and larvae are armed with irritating hairs.

Biological Control

Birds and lizards help keep numbers down, but these are not commercially available.

Bacillus thuringiensis a bacterial disease of insects in the order Lepidoptera applied to leaves late in the day may reduce the number of larva

Chemical Control

Systemic, contact or stomach insecticides may be effective if sprayed onto the exposed larva


It is your responsibility by law to read & follow the directions on the label of any pesticide

Amendments by B. Sonsie Dip Hort Sc Burnley

Leaf Hopper (General)
Various Leaf Hopper Species



     Leaf Hopper (General)

     Various Leaf Hopper Species





Description of the Pest

Generally hopper grows up to 15mm in length, with "A"-shaped folded wings that give it a characteristic triangular cross-section. The adults often have bright coloured markings and the nymphs conjugate in colonies.   Adults can fly but will hop away immediately if disturbed and both nymphs and mature hoppers have piercing and sucking mouth parts.

The Passion Vine Hopper (Scolypopa australis) has clear triangular wings that have brown margins and black bands. The nymphs are wingless and white with tufts of hair on the end of the abdomen.

The Green Leaf Hopper (siphanta acuta) looks triangular with its steeply folded wings and can grow to 10mm long. The adults are generally a solitary feeder but the nymphs congregate on shoots.

Appearance and Distribution of the Pest

The adults and nymphs are present throughout the year in tropical to warm temperate regions and are dispersed by flying.


Life Cycle

These insects have a Hemimetabolous life cycle, ie. When the immature nymphs resemble the adults.

Females deposit eggs in slits they make in the bark or on the leaves of the host, and several generations may appear annually on the same plant.

Egg and Nymph  

Damage Caused

Nymphs and adults are gregarious, and both stages may be found on host plants at the same time. If large numbers attack young new growth, sucking sap from leaf petioles and young stems, the host plant may become stressed. Severe infestations may weaken and eventually kill the plant with dieback and distorted leaves.

The nymphs exude a sweet secretion, which is attractive to ants that attend and protect the colony. The honeydew also causes sooty mould to occur as a secondary problem. Some species produce toxic saliva that kills the effected plant tissue; other species carry plant viruses.

Susceptible Plants

Most Eucalyptus, Acacia and Casuarina species are attacked by a variety of leafhoppers. Many other Australian native and ornamental plants are attacked.

Acer species are attacked by the leaf hopper (Alebra albostriella) which lays eggs under the bark causing minor swelling. Acer platanoides is particularly venerable.

Callistephus and Aster species are attacked by the Leaf Hopper (Macrosteles fascifrons) that generally causes little harm to the plant but transmits Yellow Disease, a viral infection.

Fern species are attacked by several types of leaf hopper, particularly the Passion Vine Hopper (Scolypopa australis). New fronds become deformed or misshapen as the insect sucks the sap causing dead patches to appear.

Parthenocissus species are attacked by the Green Leaf Hopper.

Rosa species are attacked by the Rose Leaf-hopper (Edwardsiana rosae), nymphs feed on the underside of leaves causing white blotches.

Sorbus aucuparia is attacked by the Japanese Leaf Hopper (Orientus ishidae) which causes the leaves to form a brown blotches with yellowish margins.

Cultural Control

Improving the culture of the host species may assist in maintaining vigorous growth, to minimise shock from infestations. It may be possible to remove them by hand, from young trees, using a small butterfly net if you are lucky.

Biological Control

Controlled by natural predation and the Green Leaf Hopper causes little harm and control is unnecessary.

Chemical Control

Under normal circumstances, it is impractical and unnecessary to treat mature trees however, hoppers on young plants may be treated with a contact insecticide. Note

Always read the label for registration details and direction of use prior to application of any chemicals.

Scale Insect
Various Scale Species




     Scale Insect

     Various Scale Species





Description of the Pest

Generally scales are soft bodied insects that have a hard (armoured) or soft covering to hide under. They have piercing and sucking mouth parts that are attached to the host, feed off sap and soft scales commonly producing sweet honeydew, which in turn attracts sooty mould and ants.

The adult female has a circular or oval covering depending on the species and is up to 8mm across. The first stage (crawlers) hatch and wander around the leaf surface until finding a suitable place to suck sap, normally in colonies and the smaller male is relatively inconspicuous.


Hard Scale                   Soft Scale, attending Ants


Cactus Scale (Diaspis echinocacti) has a circular greyish female and a narrow white male scale and is commonly found on house plants.


Chain Scales (Pulvinaria species) adult females are obvious with large group of eggs that are white or cottony-like, and the tiny young light green scales are flat and oval-shaped up to 2mm long. The legged nymphs are normally arranged from head to tail along the mid rib of the leaf, and may move to a new position to feed. They excrete honeydew and attract sooty mould and are found on Acacia and Acronychia species.


Chinese Wax Scale


Chinese Wax Scale (Ceroplastes sinensis) is a domed wax scale that has dark spots around its margin and immature scales form waxy material around there margins.


Fern Scale on Aspidistra elatior


Fern Scale or Coconut Scale (Pinnaspis aspidistrae) appears as flecks up to 0.15mm long with a white covering over the male congregating on the underside of the fronds on the axils and among the sporangia causing them to turn yellow. Many species of fern are susceptible to infestation.


                  Flat Brown Scale


Flat Brown Scale (Eucalymnatus tessellates) are light brown up to 0.5mm long, flat and closely attached both sides of the leaf and causing yellowing of the foliage.


Juniper Scale (Diaspis carueli) is tiny and circular, white maturing to grey-black and as it feeds the needles turn yellow and die.


Oleander Scale (Aspidiotus hederae) is a pale yellow circular scale up to 3mm across and is found in dense colonies on the stem or leaves.


Tea-tree Scale (Eriococcus orariensis) are a creamy blue colour normally packed along the branches and are plump and rounded to 4mm across.


                  Wattle Tick Scale


Tick or Wattle Scale (Cryptes baccatus) adult is domed, blue-slate colour with a leathery covering up to 10mm long. All stages of growth are found in groups of over forty, packed along the stems and normally tended by ants as they produce large amounts of honeydew. A serious pest of Acacia species found inland or coastal from temperate to sub tropical climates and commonly accompanied by Sooty Mould.


Toxic Scale (Hemiberlesia lataniae) is a tiny flat rounded scale up to 0.15mm long and is white to pale pink. It is normally found in colonies on the small branches and twigs of shrubs. It injects a toxic substance into the host as it sucks sap causing the death of the branch.


Wattle Scale (Pseudococcus albizziae) is soft, plump and secrets cotton-like threads. It is not a true scale insect and is simular to mealy bugs. It is reddish-brown up to 0.4mm long and secrets large amounts of honeydew as it sucks sap in colonies along the branches.


Life Cycle

These insects have a Hemimetabolous life cycle, ie. When the immature nymphs resemble the adults.


Appearance of the Pest

All parts of the plant above the soil may be attacked, but normally the stems and leaves and scale tends to favour well-lit positions.


Period of Activity

The nymphs and females are active for most of the year, in warm climates. Once they selected a position they attach and don't move. Normally the winged or wingless males are mobile and only soft scales produce honeydew.


Susceptible Plants

There is a wide range of susceptible plants including citrus, willows, holly, and many ornamentals, such as roses or Paeonia species. It also attacks indoor or glasshouse plants and Australian native plants such as wattles, hakeas, grevilleas and eucalyptus.


Acacia species are attacked by the Tick or Wattle Scale, which infest twigs and small branches and heavy infestations will kill the host plant.


Acer species are attacked by the Cotton Maple Scale (Pulvinaria innumerabilia) which prefers Acer saccharinum. Nymphs first attack the leaves and the brown adult scale is covered in a woolly mass up to 14mm across, normally found on the underside of the stems and twigs.


Acmena smithii, Melaleuca, Syzygium and Pittosporum species are attacked by the Chinese Wax Scale.


Aesculus species are attacked by several scale insects including the Walnut Scale (Aspidiotus juglans-regiae) which is saucer-shaped and attacks the main trunks.


Agave species are susceptible to several types of scale including (Aspidiotus nerii), (Aonidiella aurantii) and (Pinnaspis strachani), but generally do not require control.


Asplenium australasicum


Asplenium australasicum is susceptible to Coconut Scale or Fern Scale (Pinnaspis aspidistrae). It is normally found on the under side of the fronds. Small infestations cause little damage.


Bougainvillea species may be attacked by the soft scale (Coccus hesperidum) outdoors or under glass.


Calluna and Vaccinium species are attacked by the Oyster Shell Scale (Lepidosaphes ulmi).


Camellia species may be attacked by the Florida Red Scale (Chrysomphalus aonidum), which is small, circular and black and is found firmly attached to the underside of the leaf along the veins. On inspection after removing the scale the insect has a pale yellow body. Camellias are also attacked by a large variety of scale insects including Tea Scale and Camellia Scale.


Carpinus species may be attacked by the scale (Phenacoccus acericola). It is found on the underside of the leaves forming a white cotton-like clump along the veins.


Casuarina and Allocasuarina species may be attacked by the Casuarina Scale (Frenchia casuarinae), a black hard scale that is upright to 4mm with a pinkish body. During attachment the surrounding tissue swells up and in time can, form galls. This weakens the wood and in severe infestations may kill the tree.


Cotoneaster species are attacked by up to four species of scale including the Oyster Shell Scale (Lepidosaphes ulmi).


Cupressus species are attacked by Bark Scale (Ehrhornia cupressi) is pink and covered in white wax. Heavy infestations cause the leaves to turn yellow or reddish.


Flat Brown Scale on Cycas revoluta


Cycads, palms and some species of Callistemon are attacked by the Flat Brown Scale.


Erica species are attacked by several species of scale including, Greedy, Oleander and Oystershell scale.


Jasminum species can be infested with up to twelve types of scale.


Juniperus x media and other conifer species are attacked by the Juniper Scale.


Leptospermum species are attacked by the Tea-tree Scale which produces ample honey dew that promotes sooty mould.


Palm and Fern species are susceptible to attack by the Coconut Scale or Fern Scale (Pinnaspis aspidistrae) which infests the underside of the leaves. They are also hosts for many other scale species such as red, cottony cushion and tea scale.


Pinus species are attacked by several species of scale including the Pine Tortoise Scale (Toumeyella numismaticum) and the Red Pine Scale (Matsucoccus resinosae).


Polygonum odoratum is attacked by a small brown scale.



Sorbus aucuparia is attacked by a five species of scale insect, including Black Cottony Maple, San Jose and Scurfy. Generally they suck on the sap of the new growth and leaves.


Strelitzia species are attacked by the Greedy Scale (Aspidiotus camelliae).


Damage Caused

Leaves become yellow and are shed prematurely and there may be twig or stem die-back. When the infestation occurs on fruit, the fruit is small and its skin becomes pitted and cracked. Small trees and saplings that are heavily infested may be seriously damaged or die. Sooty mould can cover fruit or leaves causing a secondary problem.


Cactus Scale can completely cover the host cactus sucking sap and causing it to die.


Cultural Control

Dead or damaged parts of the plant should be removed and destroyed including fallen fruit. Small infestations may be removed by hand or squashed on the stems. Healthy plants are less susceptible to attack, so maintain vigour of the plant and avoid using high-nitrogen fertiliser that produces excessive soft young growth.

When pruning susceptible plants paint the cuts with antifungal sealant paint as scale insects are attracted to the sweet smell of the sap. This will reduce the infection rate of the plant.


Biological Control

Natural predators such as parasitic wasps may reduce numbers of active nymphs; parasitic wasps are bred commercially in some areas for this purpose. It should be noted, however, that wasps would avoid dusty conditions.

Other predators that assist in control are assassin bugs, ladybirds, lacewings, hover flies and scale eating caterpillars. A variety of birds also attack scales.

The control of ants that transport aphid from one host to another also reduces infestation and can be carried out by applying at least three greased bandages 5mm apart around the stem or trunk of the plant.


Chemical Control

Spray the entire plant with dilute white oil solution; a follow-up spray may be required after four weeks, for heavy infestations. Spraying of chemicals will also kill of natural predators and in some cases the secondary scale infestation is more prolific especially when using copper based chemicals.

Some chemical controls, such as methidathion, are available - please seek advice from your local nursery as to the suitable product for your area.


Always read the label for registration details and direction of use prior to application of any chemicals.

Japanese Beetle
Popillia japonica



     Japanese Beetle

     Popillia japonica



Description of the Pest

The adult beetle has an iridescent bluish-green body with streaked grey, wing cases and is up to 12mm long. The eggs are laid in lawn or grassy areas where the small larva feed. Both adult and larva have chewing mouth parts. The insect originated in Japan and was introduced into eastern USA and southern Canada.

This insect has a Holometabolous life cycle, ie. When metamorphosis is observed during the pupal stage.

Image by Ohio State University

Period of Activity

The adult is active and the eggs are laid from summer to autumn although the female adult normally lays its eggs in the first seven to ten days of its life.

Life Cycle

The tiny white eggs are up to 1.5mm long and are deposited on the soil where they can absorb moisture. After hatching the whitish larvae are a typical curl grub and identified by a serious of bristles in a 'V' shape on its raster.  There are three larva stages with the mature larvae growing to 32mm long, then pupate in the soil. The pupa is cream at first becoming red-brown and growing to 14mm long. Adults are oval shape, metallic green 10mm long by 7mm wide with brownish wing covers and five tufts of whitish hairs on either side of the abdomen.

Adult beetles emerge in early summer and find a suitable host plant to feed on, and then release an odour that attracts other emerging beetles to that plant. The females attract the males by emitting a pheromone and matting can occur on the host plant or on the ground. Fertilised females burrow into the soil up to 100mm to deposit up to five eggs then returning to the host plant and mate again. During the summer period the female deposits up to 60 eggs and under hot conditions the eggs can hatch within nine days. Under cooler conditions it can take up to thirty days for the eggs to hatch. Emerging larvae feed on the roots of the host plant.

Damage Caused

The adults skeletonize leaves and chew on buds or flowers, sometimes completely defoliating the host plant. The skeletonised leaves soon wither and die. Turf grass becomes spongy under foot as a result of tunnelling and the grass has a withered appearance in irregular patches that will not respond to watering. On inspection by lifting the turf numerous larvae can be found feeding on the roots.  

Susceptible Plants

There are many broad leafed plant species that are attacked including fruit, vegetables and ornamental plants. Roses are badly affected and may have up to 50 adults on a single bloom.

The larvae attack the roots of Turf Grass such as Poa pratensis (Kentucky Bluegrass), Lolium perenne (Perennial Ryegrass), Festuca arundinacea (Tall Fescue) and Agrostis palustris (Bent).

Many trees are particularly susceptible to attack and should not be planted around turfed areas such as golf courses. These include; Acer palmatum (Japanese Maple), Acer platanoides (Norway Maple), Quercus palustris (Pin Oak), Aesculus species (Horse Chestnut), Hibiscus syriacus (Rose of Sharon), Platanus occidentalis (American Sycamore), Prunus cerasifera (Cherry Plum), Prunus x blireana (Blireana Plum), Prunus campanulate (Taiwan Cherry), Prunus x yedoensis (Tokyo Cherry), Rosa species, (Rose), Salix species (Willow), Tilia species (Linden) Ulmus species (Elms) and Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia Creeper).

Vitis, Alcea, Zinnia, Hibiscus and Dahlia species are also attacked.

Cultural Control

It is difficult to control infestations of Japanese Beetles, but certain measures such as keeping soil dry during the first larval stage or avoid planting trees that are susceptible to beetle attack around lawn areas will help. Small infestations may be removed by hand during the early morning and small crops may be covered in netting for protection.

Biological Control

There is no effective natural control, but certain species of parasitic wasps help control. Soils may be infected by Bacterial Milk Disease which after a couple of years can be efficient in controlling larvae, but infected areas should not be sprayed during this period as this may kill off the bacterium.

Chemical Control

Smaller plants may be sprayed with a contact insecticide when the insect is first seen or turf areas can be sprayed with a systemic chemical.


Always read the label for registration details and direction of use prior to application of any chemicals.

Cervus species

Note: Plants affected by this pest are Deer Resistant plants not the susceptible plants.





     Cervus species







Description of the Pest

There are two species of the deer in North America, the Whitetail (Odocoileus virginianus) and the Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) with several regional variations such as the Pacific coastal Blacktail (O.h. columbianus) which is regarded as a sub-species of the Mule deer.


The Whitetail on average grows to 112 cm (44in) tall and 180 mm (70 in) long and weigh 68 kgs (150lbs). The fir colour varies according to its environment but generally it is reddish-brown during summer and grey-brown in winter with a pure white underside on its tail. When the tail is erect it is known as the "white flag". Its antlers consist of two main beams from which the points emerge.


The Mule deer grow to 105 cm (42 in) tall and are up to 200 cm (80 in) long with the adult buck weighing up to 137 kgs (300 lbs) and the does up to 80 kgs (175 lbs). The fir is generally tawny brown during summer and during winter it has a heaver grey-brown to blue-grey coat with a small white tail that is tipped in black. The other distinguishing features are its ears that are up to 300 mm (1 ft) long (mule-like) and its antlers, with the two beams that are forked into smaller beams, which inturn fork again and again.


The Blacktail deer (Pacific coastal Blacktail) grows to 97 cm (38 in) tall and is up to 105 cm (60 in) long and weighs on average 73 kgs (160 lbs). The fir is generally tawny brown during summer and during winter it has a heaver grey-brown to blue-grey coat with a tail that is dark brown at the base then changing to black for 50% of its length. The antlers consist of two beams that are forked into smaller beams, which inturn fork again and again.


Appearance and Distribution of the Pest

The Whitetail deer are found throughout eastern United States, on the coast and inland but are not commonly seen in California, Utah or Nevada. They do not migrate but congregate together (yard up) during winter and feed in a part of their existing territory.


The Mule Deer are found in the western part of North America from South eastern Alaska to Mexico and from the Pacific coast to Texas. They migrate from highland mountain meadows to southern or lower snow free forested valleys during winter.


The Blacktail deer are found on the Pacific coast from Alaska to northern California. There is both resident and migratory Blacktails. The  migratory Blacktails move southwards during late autumn at the first sigh of snow or heavy sustained rain and the resident Blacktails seek cover their existing territory amongst woodlands during the winter months.  


Life Cycle

All Deer breed from autumn to early winter and the does give birth from late spring to early summer.


Period of Activity

Deer are most active from spring to autumn but can be troublesome during winter when the feed is scarce. In some regions urban landscapes become the major food source both in summer and winter.


Damage Caused

Browsing deer will feed on almost any plant and is most commonly noticeable during spring feeding on the new growth or twigs and stems leaving a shredded appearance. Deer also rub their antlers against trees damaging bark and snapping off small branches, this action also incurs damage under hoof as plants, lawns and garden structures are trampled on.


Susceptible Plants

Some plants are more palatable to deer but when a deer is hungry or during drought conditions there are no "Deer Proof" plants. There is a range of plants that have a bad taste and are not destroyed and are regarded as (deer resistant plants). Deer resistant plants are the plants that are attached to this file not the susceptible plants.


Cultural Control

There are many cultural controls that have been tried to move browsing deer such as frightening them with strobe lights, pyrotechnics or tethered savage dogs. These actions are only temporary and may cause more trouble as the stampeding animals move off. Fencing and netting can be an effective method of discouraging hungry deer from gardens but may be expensive on a large scale and require maintenance. There are several types of fences which include conventional 2.2m (8 ft) deer-proof woven wire fences or single-wire electric fences and slanted deer fences. Plant selection can also be effective, by using less desirable plants (deer resistant plants) as an outer border to the more desirable plant species and  thus discouraging the deer to enter the garden. Hedges and windrows of less desirable thorny plants can also be a deterrent to browsing deer.


Chemical Control

There are two main types of repellents contact and area. Contact repellents are applied directly to the plants and deter deer with a bad taste or smell. They can be applied by rubbing or spraying on to the plants and commonly used in an egg mixture. The commercial products have proven to work better than home remedies which include soap or chilli mixtures and hanging bags of human hair.

Area repellents rely on an offensive odour and are placed around areas that are frequently visited.


Contact your local distributor for available types and application.


Phytophthora Rot
Phytophthora species



     Phytophthora Rot

     Phytophthora species

Pathogen Name

A number of Phytophthora species cause these diseases but the most important species in Australia is the cinnamon fungus, Phytophthora cinnamomi. This species is exotic to Australia and probably originated from south east Asia; it has probably been present in Australia for close to 200 years. Phytophthora are fungal-like organisms that are related to some protozoa and algae; they are microscopic and cannot be observed by the naked eye.


There are many types of Phytophthora Rot but generally the disease affects the plant by causing a soft rot of the affected plant part. The most common form of the disease is a rotting of the roots that occurs below ground with no visible symptoms of the disease above ground until the disease starts to cause leaf drop.


The disease is initiated below ground in the soil, usually on the feeder roots of a plant. The pathogen grows through the roots killing cells and eventually causing an extensive root decay. This causes the infected plant to lose vigour and the leaves to yellow and die. Entire branches starting from the top then die, quickly during hot weather or linger for months. The infection occurs on the root hairs causing small and large roots to rot.  The symptoms of the disease are often very difficult to differentiate from drought symptoms, mainly because the affected root system prevents the uptake of moisture from the soil. Once the disease has progressed far enough large branches will die causing the typical dieback symptoms.



There are a number of other diseases caused by Phytophthora species

Twig Die Back (Phytophthora ilicis) attacks Ilex species causing black leaf spots and black stem cankers.

Phytophthora cactorum is known by several common names depending on which plant is being attacked and they have various symptoms. Plant species are listed below.

Root Rot (Phytophthora richardiae) infects Zantedeschia species causing the leaves to turn yellow, wilt and die. Flowers are deformed if they bloom and the infection can also be seen in the new growth, eventually killing the plant. On inspection the roots show signs of decay.

Stem Rot (Phytophthora cryptogea) infects the roots and stems turning them brown and seeds are also attacked causing decay. It is commonly found on Tagetes erecta and infected plants wilt, collapse and die.

Source and Dispersal

Sporangia     Zoospores    

Image by Dr Brett Summerell

Phytophthora species produce sporangia that contain specialised zoospores that have flagella that allow them to move through the soil moisture small distances. These spores encyst on the root and then penetrate the root. The pathogen also produces chlamydospores, specialised survival spores that allow it to survive in the soil for extended periods of time. The chlamydospores can be transported in soil, even extremely small amounts, allowing the pathogen to be dispersed very easily throughout an area and from one location to another. The zoospores are easily moved in water flowing through soil and so are easily dispersed down slopes. It is not uncommon for the disease to move in fronts down a slope.

                  Chlamydospores, specialised survival spores

Image by Dr Brett Summerell

Favoured Conditions

Phytophthora root rot is favoured by poorly drained soils or in soils that are waterlogged for short periods of time. The disease generally occurs during periods when the temperature is above 16ºC although it has been observed in snow gum country in the Barrington Tops National Park and in southern Tasmania. It also prefers soils that have little organic material.


Affected Plants

                  Xanthorrhoea species

Image by Dr Brett Summerell

The host range that is attacked by Phytophthora cinnamomi is enormous and is still not well understood but includes many Australian native plants, Rhododendrons, Acer  and Prunus species, conifers, cabbage tree and strawberries. Some Australian plant families that are quite susceptible include species in the Proteaceae, Epacridaceae and Xanthorrhoea species.

Alphitonia excelsa

Alphitonia excelsa can be infected by Phytophthora cinnamomi causing loss of foliage, death of the upper branches and cankers on the trunk.

Cactus such as Cereus species may be infected with Slimy Collar Rot (Phytophthora cactorum) which forms a soft black area at the base of the plant that is water soaked.

Chamaecyparis species may be infected with the Root Rot (Phytophthora lateralis) that attacks roots, trunk, stems and leaves.

Cornus species are infected by Crown Canker (Phytophthora cactorum) and in this case the tree is partially infected initially with one side producing smaller leaves that turn reddish in late summer. The leaves may also shrivel and die prematurely, during dry periods and small and large branches die. After a couple of seasons the tree becomes completely infected with poor top growth and an inconspicuous canker develops at the base of the trunk. Eventually the tree dies.

Erica species are infected by (Phytophthora cinnamomi). The symptoms include foliage turning greyish towards the top, and then the plant wilts then dies with evidence of infection at the base.

Phytophthora in Eucalyptus species
Image by B. Sonsie

Image by Dr Brett Summerell

Eucalyptus species are infected by Phytophthora cinnamomi causing rapid die back of the tree with blackened trunk loss or upper growth and is a serious problem for certain species such as Eucalyptus diversicolor (Karri).

Euphorbia pulcherrima is susceptible to Root Rot (Phytophthora and Pythium species). Roots become dark and the rot can extend up the stem. The plant is also susceptible to leaf blight resulting from the same fungal disease.

Hedera species are infected by Phytophthora Blight (Phytophthora palmivora). This fungus causes leaf spots, foliage blight and stem rot.

Palms such as Archontophoenix, Caryota, Chamaedorea, Cocos, Dypsis, Howea, Liculia, Linospadix, Livistona, Phoenix, Ptychosperma, Rhapis, Roystonea, Syagrus, Washingtonia and Wodyetia species are also susceptible to Phytophthora Blight forming large irregular areas on the fronds that become dark and rotten and limited by the veins

Lilium species are infected by Foot Rot (Phytophthora cactorum) which attacking the stems just below the soil level causing the plant to topple and if infection occurs as the leaves are emerging the base of the infected leaves which collapse remain attached to the bulb.

Morinda citrifolia is infected by Phytophthora Blight, black flag disease (Phytophthora species) which causes the foliage to turn black and limp. The fruit and stems are also infected causing them to turn brown-black and whither.

                  Morinda citrifolia

Orchids such as Cattleya, Cymbidium, Cypripedium, Dendrobium, Epidendrum, Paphiopedilum, Phalaenopsis and Zygopetalum species are infected by Black Rot (Phytophthora or Pythium species). This causes the leaves, pseudobulbs, rhizomes and roots to form a dark soft rot, normally occurring towards the base of the plant.

Saintpaulia, Dianthus, Gypsophila, Limonium and Anemone species are infected by Root and Crown Rot (Phytophthora nicotianae). This is a fast moving fungus that turns the roots blackish then extends to the crown and petioles causing wet rot of the crown then wilting, eventually killing the plant. When found as Phytophthora Leaf Spot or Blight, angular spots appear with water-soaked margins as in Cordyline and Philodendron species.

Sedum species can be infected by up to three Stem Rot fungi including (Colletotrichum species), (Phytophthora species) and (Pellicularia filamentosa). Commonly occurring in wet soils.

Ulmus and Acer species are also infected by (Phytophthora cactorum) and this is known as Bleeding Canker. This casual disease initially causes cankers in the bark that ooze sap and the sapwood forms reddish lesions with greenish margins. The leaves on affected branches turn yellow, wilt then die and mildly affected trees may survive.

Many species are infected by the Bleeding Canker including Acer platanoides, Acer rubrum, Acer pseudoplatanus, Acer saccharinum, Betula species, Liquidambar styraciflua, Aesculus x carnea, Tilia, Salix and Quercus species.

Non-chemical Control

The most effective control for all Phytophthora diseases is prevention primarily because it is extremely difficult to control Phytophthora diseases after they are established in the plant. As Phytophthora species are most easily transported in infested soil quarantine is an essential component of control of the disease and it is for this reason many areas have hygiene protocols to stop the pathogen being introduced into an area.  It is recommended that bush walkers take care not to introduce the pathogen on their boots into un-infested areas and for this reason it is suggested that walking boots be cleaned and preferably sterilised (with 70% methylated spirits) prior to starting a walk.

Cultural techniques such as cultivating the soil regularly with added animal manure and other organic substrates to ensure there is good drainage will also help to minimise the impact of the disease. The plants can be mulched with straw or other organic material taking care that the base of the trunk is left clear. Avoid over watering the soil and observe hygiene in regards to tools, containers or shoes to reduce spreading the infection.

Potting mixes should be pasteurised for 30min at 60ºC to ensure that they are free of the pathogen. It is also very important to grow pots off the ground to prevent the splash of infested mix or water from an infected plant to clean plants.


Avoid damaging the bark particularly at ground level and seal any wounds that occur. If cactus or tree species are infected it is possible to cut out the infected area when first seen in order to contain it. Correct tree surgery techniques are required for large trees.

Chemical Control

There are a number of fungicides that are registered for use in the control of these diseases. The most effective chemical control are based on the use of chemicals containing potassium phosphonate. This chemical effectively enhances the defence systems of the plant and has been shown to be most effective in controlling Phytophthora diseases. It is essential that the chemical be applied when the plants is exporting nutrients to the roots, so this is best in the warmer months. The chemical can be applied as a stem injection or a foliar spray, and in some situations as a soil drench.  There are specialised stem injecting equipment available for stem injections on larger trees.

Image by Dr Brett Summerell


Always read the label for registration details and direction of use prior to application of any chemicals.

Amendments by

Dr Brett Summerell
Director Science and Public Programs
Royal Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney

Leaf Spot (General)
Various Leaf Spot Species



     Leaf Spot (General)

     Various Leaf Spot Species


There is a wide variety of fungal leaf spots that infect perennials, shrub and trees. Some are specific to the host while others can affect a range of plants.


Generally light brown to purplish or blackish spots appear on the leaf and form concentric rings of fruiting bodies. The spots may leave holes, perforating the leaf or expand with pale green to yellowish margins and when the holes merge the leaf normally dies. There are many different types of leaf spot, some are discussed below.

Alocasia species     

Alternaria Leaf Spot (Alternaria nelumbii) forms a small reddish brown spots that are boarded in light green, and as they develop in size the leaf curls and dies from the margin inwards. Normally occurs on Nelumbo species (water lilies).

Helminthosporium Disease

Helminthosporium Disease (Bipolris species), (Drechslera species) and (Exserophilum species) are responsible for several leaf spots that occur on all Turf Grass species. Generally they form black or white spots that may be faded and produce masses of spores in the thatch during late summer, under humid conditions. The life cycle is short and when conditions are favourable spores are splashed onto the foliage from the thatch, causing wide spread infection. Cynodon dactylon (common couch) is most susceptible and found in bowling or golf greens where it is a serious problem.

Banana Leaf Spot     

Banana Leaf Spot (Mycosphaerella musicola) is found on many species of banana causing pale yellow streaks on the young leaves to turn brown with dark spots. The leaf then becomes dried, brown and dead commencing from the margins, eventually the leaf dies. Control requires removal of infected foliage or the spraying of a fungicide and fungicides should not be used during the fruiting period.

                  Lophostemon confertus (Brush Box)

Leaf Spot on Brush Box (Elsinoe species). This is a casual fungus that attacks the epidermal layer of the leaf, forming circular spots that are up to 25mm across and are often restricted by the main vein.  These spots are a dull yellowish brown but can also have purplish patterns.  A leaf may have more than one spot develop on its surface and normally appears on scattered leaves throughout the tree.  This doesn't affect the vigour of Lophostemon confertus.

Palm Leaf-scab (Graphiola phoeicis) appears as yellow spots and develop into scabs or warts that are outwards hard and dark but with a soft centre with powdery yellowish brown spores. The infected leaves eventually die.

Palm Leaf Spot, Chamaedorea elegans

Palm Leaf Spot (Pestaloptiopsis species) appears as a small spot with a dark centre on the leaves and affects palms that are growing in shaded humid positions and normally control is not required, though infected fronds should be removed.

Source and Dispersal

Infection source is other contaminated plants and the spores are spread by wind or by splashing water.  The fruiting bodies are black spots that appear on the damaged tissue releasing spores.

Favoured Conditions

This fungus prefers a warm humid environment and leafy plants with soft new growth, particularly if they are crowded.


Affected Plants

There are many ornamental and native plants that are hosts to a wide range of fungal leaf spots. Some specific ones are listed below. Plants such as Cornus or Paeonia species are infected by a large variety of leaf spots, while other plants attract a specific leaf spot.

Generally a healthy plant can tolerate fungal leaf spot attack, though it may make the plant look unsightly. In trees and shrubs it is difficult to control and generally not necessary, but in perennials and annuals control may be necessary in order to save the plant.

Acalypha and Arctotis species are infected by up to three leaf spots including (Cercospora acalyphae) and (Ramularia acalyphae) that rarely require control.

Acer species are infected by Purple Eye (Phyllosticta minima) which forms spots with brownish centres and purplish margins causing the death of the leaves.

Acer species are also infected by Tar Spot (Rhytisma acerinum) which forms round black spots that have yellow margins. Not normally seen on cultivated trees, but seen in forests.

Adiantum, Asplenium, Blechnum, Cyathea, Davallia, Nephrolepis, Platycerium, Polypodium and Pteris species are infected by the leaf spot (Pseudocercopora species) which forms circular brown spots on the fronds and heavy infection can defoliate a plant.

Aesculus species are occasionally infected with the leaf spot (Septoria hippocastani) which forms small brown spots.

Agave species are susceptible to the leaf spot (Coniothyrium concentricum), which appear as greyish spots up to 20mm (1in) across with concentric rings and black fruiting bodies. Affected leaves are destroyed as the infection spreads.

Albizia julibrissin is susceptible to the fungal leaf spot (gloeosporium aletridis), which does not normally require control.

Amelanchler, Chaenomeles, Crataegus and Rhaphiolepis species Mespilus germanica are infected by the leaf spot (Fabraea maculata) which may cause considerable damage during wet periods.

Aquilegia species can be infected by three types of Leaf Spot including (Ascochyta aquilegiae), (Cercospora aquilegiae) and (Septoria aquilegiae), normally appearing during humid conditions forming spots on the leaves.

Arbutus species are infected by two leaf spots (Septoria Unedonis) which produces small brown spots on the leaves and (Elsinoe mattirolianum).

Arctostaphylos manzanita is infected by the leave spot (Cryptostictis arbuti) which damages leaves but is not normally detrimental to the shrub.

Aspidistra species are infected by the leaf spot (Colletotrichum omnivorum) causing whitish spots on the leaves and petiole.

Aster species are infected by many leaf spots including (Alternaria species), (Cercosporella cana), ( Ovularia asteris) and (Septoria asteris).

Aucuba species are infected by several leaf spots, usually as a secondary infection after aphid attack. These include (Phyllosticta aucubae) and (Phyllostica aucubae).


Azalea (Rhododendron species) are susceptible to Leaf Scorch (Septoria azalea). This fungal disease forms reddish- brown spots which expand and engulf the leaf, with fruiting bodies appearing in the centre. Infected leaves die, then fall and the branchlets wilt. This problem is more serious during wet periods and may require control using a fungicide.

Banksia robur

Banksia species are infected by several leaf spots causing chlorotic areas that have brown centres and is not normally a major problem for the plant.

Betula species may be infected by the Leaf Spots (Gloeosporium betularum) that forms brown spots with darker margins and (Cylindrosporium betulae) that also forms brown spots with faded indefinite margins.

Bougainvillea species are infected by the leaf spot (Cercosporidium bougainvilleae) which forms rounded spots with dark margins that yellowish ting. Infected leaves die and fall from the plant.

Calendula species are infected by the Leaf Spot (Cercospora calendulae) which rapidly infects the plant spotting the leaves and killing the plant.

Callicarpa species may be infected by the leaf spot (Atractilina callicarpae) forming irregular brownish spot or (Cercospora callicarpae) which can defoliate the plant in subtropical climates.

Campsis species may be infected by several fungal leaf spots including (Phyllosticta tecomae), (Septoria tecomae) and (Cercospora duplicata).

Carpinus species are infected by the leaf spots (Gloeosporium robergei), (Gnomoniella fimbriata) and (Septoria carpinea), all are minor infections not normally requiring control.

Carya species are infected by several leaf spots including (Gnomonia caryae) that infects leaves with irregular reddish spots on the upper surface with corresponding brown spore producing spots on the underside. It also has a secondary spore release that occurs on the dead leaves where it over winters. Other leaf spots include (monochaetia desmazierii) and (Marssonina juglandis).

Ceanothus species are susceptible to the leaf spot (Cercospora ceanothi) and (Phyllosticta ceanothi) both are of minor importance not requiring control.

Celtis species are infected by many leaf spots including (Cercosporella celtidis), (Cylindrosporium celtidis), (Phleospora celtidis) and (Septogloeum celtidis).

Chrysanthemums species are infected by the leaf spot (Septoria species) which forms yellow spots appear toward the edge of the leaves; these become enlarged brownish patches with yellow margins.  Damaged areas may converge and in severe attacks and the leaves may fall prematurely or flower production is reduced.

Clematis species are infected by the fungal disease (Ascochyta clematidina) which may cause stem rot or leaf spots that are water soaked areas with reddish margins. The infection spreads from the leaves to the stem causing wilting and eventually girdling the stem killing the plant. There are many fungal leaf spots that infect this plant including (Cercospora rubigo) and (Septoria clematidis)

Dracaena deremensis

Cordyline and Dracaena species may be infected by the leaf spot (Phyllosticta maculicola) which forms small brownish spots that have yellowish margins and has black fruiting bodies that forms coils of spores. These plants are also susceptible to other leaf spots such as (Glomerella cincta) and (Phyllosticta dracaaaenae). Keep foliage dry to avoid infection.

Cynodon dactylon,  Pennisetum clandestinum and many other Turf Grasses are susceptible to Helminthosporium Disease.

Daphne species are infected by the leaf spot (Gloeosporium mezerei) and (Marssonina daphnes) both of which form thickish brown spots that are seen on both sides of the leaves. Infected leaves turn yellowish before dieing.

Dendranthema species are infected by many leaf spots such as (Septoria chrysanthemi) which first forms yellowish spots up to 25mm (1in) across that become black. Infected leaves die prematurely and persist on the plant.

Dianthus species may be infected by the leaf spot (Septoria dianthi). It forms light brown rounded spots that have a purplish border. The scattered spots on the lower leaves can also be found on the stems and the spores are dispersed by water from the tiny black fruiting bodies.

Dieffenbachia species are infected by several leaf spot fungi including (Cephalosporium species) and (Myrothecium species).

Eucalyptus species

Eucalyptus species are infected by many fungal leaf spots such as (Mycosphaeralla species), (Hendersonia species) and (Monocheatia monochaeta). Generally leaf spots appear on the juvenile or new leaves causing brownish spots that enlarge and may have a purplish halo around the margin.  Mature adult leaves are not normally infected and the trees rarely require control measures.

Fern species are infected by the leaf spot, (Alternaria polypodii). This fungus appears as brown circular or oblong spots that congregate along the margins of the pinnae causing the fronds to turn brown and die.  It is spread by wind currents from plant to plant and control methods include removing infected fronds and maintaining a drier atmosphere.

Ficus species are infected by various fungal leaf spot including (Pseudocercospora species). Generally the fungal attack forms circular or irregular dark coloured spots on the leaves eventually causing them to fall prematurely.

Ficus elastica is susceptible to many fungal leaf spots including (Alternaria species), (Leptostromella elastica) and (Phyllosticta roberti).


Fragaria x ananassa (Strawberry) is infected by the fungal leaf spot (Mycospharella fragariae). The mature leaf is initially infected with well defined brown spots that that turn light grey with red-purplish margins. As the spots merge they form large brown blotches and the leaf turns yellow then dies. This fungal attack normally occurs on plants in poor health and can be a serious problem early in the season seriously damaging stock.

Fraxinus species

Fraxinus species are infected by the leaf spot (Gloeosporium aridum) giving the leaf a scorched appearance as large blotches appear from the margin or apex and turn brown with a papery texture. It is more prevalent during rainy periods and infected leaves fall prematurely. Collect and depose of fallen leaves otherwise control is not normally required.

Fuchsia species may be infected by the leaf spot (Septoria species) or ( Cercospora species), both form spots with dead centres and dark margins.

Gladiolus species are infected by Hard Rot or Leaf Spot (Septoria gladioli). On the corms reddish brown circular water soaked spots become large and sunken. These areas dry out and form obvious margins. The leaves may also have these symptoms but is not commonly seen.

Hemerocallis species are infected by several leaf spots including (Cercospora hemerocallis) and (Heterosporium iridis). These may be in the form of black spots or brownish spots that converge killing the leaf. Infected leaves should be removed and burnt.

Hibiscus species

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, Hibiscus syriacus and Hibiscus tiliaceus are susceptible to several fungal leaf spots including (Ascochyta abelmoschi), (Cerospora kellermanii) and (Phyllosticta hibiscina). All cause spotting or blotching of the leaf surface; remove and destroy infected parts.

Hydrangea species are infected by four fungal species including (Ascochyta hydrangeae), (Phyllosticta hydrangeae) and (Septoria hydrangeae).

Iris species are infected by several fungal leaf spots including (Alternaria iridicola) and (Macosphaerella species).

Iris species are also infected by the leaf spot (Didymellina macrospore) that forms greyish spots with brown water soaked borders and coalesce on the upper part of the leaf. This casual organism commonly occurs after flowering killing the leaves but will not infect the bulbs. The bulbs become weak over several seasons due to the decreased foliage.

There is also a Bacterial Leaf Spot (Bacterium tardicrescens) that is commonly mistaken as a fungal problem causing translucent spots that coalesce and involve the entire leaf. Normally found on Iris species.

Laburnum anagyroides is infected by the Leaf Spot (Phyllosticta cytisii). The leaf forms light grey spots with no definite margin and mature to brown. The black fruiting bodies appear as dots in the centre of the spot.

Leucanthemum species are infected by the leaf spot (Cerocspora chrysanthemi) and (Septoria leucanthemi).

Magnolia species are susceptible to many species including (Alternaria tenuis), (Mycosphaerella milleri) and (Phyllosticta species). Leaves generally turn brown from the apex or margins turning brown or spots appear on the leaf surface and leaves become yellow before withering and dieing. Normally the make the tree look poorly but have little effect on its growth. Control is not normally required.

Nerium oleander is susceptible to several fungal leaf spots including (Cercospora nerella), (Cercospora repens), (Gloesporium species) and (Phyllosticta nerii). Infected leaves should be removed but generally control is not required.

Nyssa sylvatica is infected by the leaf spot (Mycosphaerella nyssaecola) forming irregular purplish blotches.

Orchids such as Cattleya, Cymbidium, Cypripedium, Dendrobium, Epidendrum, Paphiopedilum, Phalaenopsis and Zygopetalum species are infected by several leaf spots including (Cerospora, Colletotrichum and Phyllosticta species). Normally forming dark or dead, circular or irregular areas on the leaves.

Palms such as Syagrus, Howea, Phoenix, Roystonea and Washingtonia species are infected by Leaf-scab (Graphiola phoeicis).

Palms such as Archontophoenix, Caryota, Chamaedorea, Cocos, Dypsis, Howea, Liculia, Linospadix, Livistona, Phoenix, Ptychosperma, Rhapis, Roystonea, Syagrus, Washingtonia and Wodyetia species are susceptible to several fungal leaf spots including;

(Bipolaris spp.), (Cylindrocladium spp.), (Colletotrichum spp.) and (Pestalotiopsis spp.).

Generally the circular leaf spots are brown and may have a yellow halo such as Palm Ring Spot (Bipolaris incurvata). They vary in size from small to large depending on the species. When a plant is healthy it recovers from attack, but heavy infections can defoliate, causing the collapse of the plant.

Palms are also infected by the Brachybasidium Leaf Spot (Brachybasidium pinangae). This fungus forms angular leaf lesions that produce fruiting bodies on the underside and is commonly found on Archontophoenix species.

                  Archontophoenix cunninghamiana

Passiflora species are infected with many types of leaf spot such as (Alternaria passiflorae).

Phoenix species are susceptible to False Smut (Graphiola phoenicis). This fungus forms yellow leaf spots that become hard with a raised with a blackish scab, which produces masses of powdery spores that are thread-like.

                  Pittosporum species

Pittosporum species are susceptible to the leaf spots (Alternaria tenuissima), (Phyllostica species) and (Cercospora pittospori). Circular or angular dark spots appear on the leaves and are surrounded by necrotic areas that are yellowish. Generally removal of infected leaves is adequate control.

Poa species and other cool season grasses are infected by Winter Fusarium Leaf Disease (Fusarium species), which causes small pale spots that are water soaked to appear on the leaves that turn red-brown. Infected leaves become bleached then wither and die, but the infection will not affect the crown or roots of the plant. It can be identified by pink, cotton-like mycelium and the plant prefers cold wet weather.

Populus species are infected by several fungal leaf spots including (Ciborinia bifrons, Ciborinia confundens), and (Mycosphaerella populicola).

Prunus species are infected by several leaf spots including (Cercospora circumscissa and Septoria ravenelii).

Pseudotsuga menziesii Douglas Fir is infected by the Leaf Cast (Rhabdocline pseudotsugae) Symptoms include the needles becoming yellowish at the apex and extending down the needle and spreading to others during moist spring weather turning them brown. Brownish scorched areas are noticeable on the tree from a distance. Control; is not normally required for mature trees but nursery stock may require spraying with a copper based fungicide.  

Psidium guajava (Guava) is infected by (Glomerella cingulate). This fungus courses spots to appear on leaves and mummifies and blackens immature fruit or rots mature fruit.  This fungus can devastate a guava crop.  

Quercus species are infected by several types of leaf spot including (Cylindrosporium microspilum) and (Marssonina martini). These attacks tend top take place later in the season and normally not detrimental to the tree.

Rhododendron species are infected by a large variety of fungal leaf spots including (Cercospora rhododendri) and (lophodermium melaleucum)

Salix species are infected by several fungal leaf spots including (Ascochyta salicis) and (Septogloeum salicinum).

Senecio species are infected by the fungal leaf spot (Alternaria cinerariae) and (Cercospora species), forming dark rounded or angular spots.

Spiraea species are attacked by the fungal leaf spot (Cylindrosporium filipendulae).

Stenotaphrum secundatum (Buffalo) turf grass is susceptible to Grey Leaf Spot (Pyricularia grisea) in domestic and commercial situations devastating lawns. This fungal disease infects the stems and leaves with small brown lesions that enlarge rapidly forming grey-brown spots that have darker borders or surrounded by yellow chlorotic areas. This infection is commonly found on newly laid turf but will also infect established lawns. It is most prevalent during warm humid periods in soil with a high nitrogen level.

Syringa species are attacked by up to six species of leaf spot including (Cercospora lilacis) and (Phyllostica species).

Syzygium species

Syzygium species are infected by fungal leaf spots but normally control is not required.

Tagetes species are infected by the leaf spot (Septoria tageticola), which starts at the base and moves progressively up through the plant, covering the leaves in grey to black spots.

Trillium species are host to several leaf spots, including (Colletotrichum peckii) (Gloeosporium Trillii) (Heterosporium trillii).

Ulmus species are infected by many fungal leaf spots including (Gnomonia ulmea) and (Cercospora sphaeriaeformis).

Veronica species are infected by the leaf spot (Septoria veronicae). The symptoms include small violet to brown spots appear on the upper surface of the leaf and correspondingly yellowish brown on the underside. The spots converge forming a scorched shot-hole appearance and eventually death of the leaf.

Vaccinium ovatum

Vaccinium ovatum is infected by the leaf spot (Rhytisma vaccinii) and (Dothichiza caroliniana).

Vicia species are infected by the leaf spot (Erostrotheca multiformis), which forms greyish spots that enlarge and may defoliate the plant.

Wisteria species are infected by three fungal leaf spots (Phyllostica wisteriae), (Septoria wisteriae) and (Phomatospora wisteriae).

Non-chemical Control

Remove and destroy infected plant material and avoid overhead watering.  When planting select infection resistant varieties. Practice crop rotation and add pot ash to the soil to decrease the plants venerability to the disease. Many species of fungus overwinter in fallen leaves, remove and destroy any litter under the plant.  

Winter Fusarium Leaf Disease in Turf Grasses can be minimised by aerating the soil, reducing thatch and avoid excessive nitrogen in the soil.

Chemical Control

Protective fungicides such as zineb or copper oxychloride should be sprayed at the first sign of infection and cuttings should be sprayed as they start to grow.


Always read the label for registration details and direction of use prior to application of any chemicals.

Powdery Mildew
Various Powdery Mildew Species



     Powdery Mildew

     Various Powdery Mildew Species


Powdery mildew covers arrange of fungal infections most with simular characteristics of white powdery areas appearing on the leaves and flowers.

     White powdery area     


Powdery mildew (Oidium species) affects the following five plant groups with slightly different characteristics.

Cucurbits firstly form white spots on the underside of the leaves. Under optimum conditions the fungus spreads to the upper surface covering the entire leaf causing it to die. It may also extend to the stems slowing the growth of the plant and may reduce the size of the fruit.

Grape leaves, flowers and fruit are attacked with the appearance of greyish-white powdery spots. Infected flowers set poor quality fruit and infected fruit splits open and dries out.

Pawpaw leaves become infected on the underside at first then spreading covering the entire leaf. The fruit forms irregular light grey spotted areas that damages the surface and under the surface causing the fruit to misshapen and reducing its market value.

Rose leaf and buds are covered in a fine white powdery coating and in severe cases it extends to the stems. When young leaves are infected they become distorted and older leaves develop blackened areas. Infected flower buds may fail to open and opened blooms may be discoloured or distorted.

Strawberries show different signs of infection with the leaf margins first rolling upwards then developing purplish irregular blotches along the veins.  The infected flowers may fail to set fruit and if fruit is produced it is small, hard fails to ripen. Semi mature fruit that is infected has dull appearance and may form cracks or split open.

The Powdery Mildew (Sphaerotheca lanestris) infects leaves and twigs. The under side if the leaf firstly has a white mealy growth that matures to felt-like brown mycelium that can cover the entire leaf, and the twig tips. It is only one of the many types that infect Quercus species.

Source and Dispersal

The spores overwinter in fallen leaves, dormant buds, seed and infested plants. It is dispersed by wind.

Favoured Conditions

Generally it prefers warm humid conditions, but failing to germinate when it is raining. The fungus that attacks Pawpaw prefers cooler conditions disappearing in the warmer months.        

Affected Plants

There are many plant species ornamental trees and shrubs that are attacked by Oidium species including; Roses, African Violets, Cucurbits, Grapes, Pawpaw, Strawberries, Hydrangeas, Ajugas, Antirrhinum, Oaks and Photinias.

Acer species are infected by the powdery mildews (Uncinula circinata) and (Phyllactinia corylea) but are not normally serious.

Aesculus species are infected by the powdery mildew (Uncinula flexuosa) which forms a white mold on the underside of the leaves.

Arenaria,Cuphea, Erica and Eschscholtzia species are infected by the powdery mildew (Erysiphe polygoni). This fungus is greyish or white and covers leaves or young shoots. Heavenly infected leaves turn brown and fall from the plant. The plant eventually dies.

Aster species are infected with the powdery mildew (Erysiphe cichoracearum) which is more prevalent on the lower part of the plant.

Ceanothus, Corylus, Platanus, Syringa and Weigela species are infected by the powdery mildew (Microsphaera alni) particularly London Plane. The mycelium forms a felt-like cover on the leaves.

Celtis species are susceptible to the powdery mildew (Uncinula parvula) and (Uncinula polychaete). This fungal problem can affect either side of the leaf, which can have spots or be completely coved in mildew. The fruiting bodies appear on the opposite side of the mildew.

Cornus species leaves are infected by the powdery mildew (Microsphaera alni) and (Phyllactinia corylea), covering the leaves in a whitish fungus.

Dahlia species are infected by the powdery mildew (Erysiphe cichoracearum) that forms white powdery areas on the leaf surface.

Lagerstroemia species are infected by the powdery mildew (Uncinula Australiana) that forms white powdery growth on the leaves and may also distort the infected foliage.

Populus and Salix species are infected by a white powdery mildew (Uncinula salicis) that produces black fruiting bodies with a curled tip, but is not normally a major problem.

                  Quercus robur

Quercus species are susceptible to several powdery mildew fungi including (Sphaerotheca lanestris), (Erysiph trina) and (Phyllactinia corylea). Generally white mealy growth appears on the leaves, normally on the underside turning the infected areas brown and then the leaf dies. The infection may spread to the twig tips causing dieback. Control may be difficult and unwarranted on large trees but nursery stock may be sprayed with a fungicide during susceptible periods.  

Rosa species are also infected by the powdery mildew (Sphaerotheca pannosa).

Rudbeckia and Senecio species are covered in white fungus (Erysiphe cichoracearum) which infects leaves, flowers and stems. This results in the plant becoming stunted.

Senecio species are infected by the powdery mildew (Sphaerotheca fuliginea) which forms circular white powdery areas on the leaves.

Spiraea species are infected by the Powdery Mildew (Microsphaera alni) and (Podosphaera oxyacanthae).

Ulmus and Rhododendron (Azalea) species are also infected by (Microsphaera alni). Circular patches of white powdery growth appear on the leaves.

Veronica species are sometimes infected by the powdery mildew (Sphaerotheca humili) causing a white coating to appear on the leaves. Not normally a major problem.


Zinnia elegans are commonly infected by the powdery mildew (Erysiphe cichororacearum), which appears on both sides of the leaves as a greyish powdery cover and may be transmitted by seed.

Non-chemical Control

Choose less susceptible species and when planting space the plants to allow good air circulation. Avoid overwatering and try to keep the foliage dry. Affected plants may be dusted with powdered sulphur or sprayed with a milk mixture to discourage mildew. Vegetables that are infected with mildew should be removed and replaced with new young plants, as they are more resistant to infection.

Chemical Control

Prenatitive spraying during warm humid conditions using a suitable fungicide such as wettable sulphur, bitertanol, carbendazim, fenarimol and triforine helps control the problem.


Always read the label for registration details and direction of use prior to application of any chemicals.

Verticillium Wilt
Verticillium dahliae



     Verticillium Wilt

     Verticillium dahliae


This is a soil based fungus that attacks the root hairs and travels throughout the plants vascular system.


With annuals or perennials such as dahlias lower leaves wilt, turn brown and die and the stems appear normal until the base splits open and turns blackish. This may extend throughout, killing the plant. With larger trees the fungus causes the leaves at the end of the branches wilt and die off.

Verticillium albo-atrum is a soil born fungus that normally infects the roots acting on the water conducting cells by restricting flow causing the plant to wilt. On trees the leaves suddenly wilt and die. This may happen on individual branches on one side of the tree. Other symptoms are leaves form smaller than usual turning yellow and the plant may not shoot the following season. Trees may die over a short or long period of time depending on the severity or number of infections it has incurred and Acer saccharinum and Catalpa species are most susceptible.

Source and Dispersal

It is found in the soil and dispersed by movement of soil i.e. in containers or on machinery. The fungus may survive in the soil for many years.

Favoured Conditions

Moist poorly drained soils are prone to fungus and during the cooler humid months the fungus is most active.        

Affected Plants

There is a wide range of hosts including tomatoes, potatoes, chrysanthemums and other perennials. It also found in shrubs and trees.

Acer, Achillea, Koelreuteria , Paeonia  and Syringa species are infected by Verticillium albo-atrum causing wilting. Erythrina x sykesii may also become infected.

Berberis species are infected with Verticillium albo-atrum causing the leaves to turn brown, shrivel then die.

Non-chemical Control

Cultivate soil to improve drainage and aeration. Cut down and destroy any infected plant material and when taking cuttings from a susceptible plants quarantine them, to ensure they are not infected. Infected soil may be allowed to lay fallow for 2 to 3 years and when replanting used resistant plant varieties.

Chemical Control

For quick control of a cultivated area the soil will require treatment with a fungicide. Consultation with your local Department of Agriculture is advised.


Always read the label for registration details and direction of use prior to application of any chemicals.

Canker (General)
Various Canker Species



     Canker (General)

     Various Canker Species


This is a fungal problem that enters the plant through wounds causing dieback of twigs and stems.


The stems become discoloured (pale brown) usually from a pruned point, working its way down the stem and normally intersecting or surrounded with live cambium. The bark splits or cracks, foliage dies and infected areas can develop tiny black fruiting bodies. Heavy infected plants eventually die, though certain varieties are resistant halting the spread of the infection.


Black Canker (Phyaslospora miyabeana) forms dark brown spots with concentric rings on the upper leaf surface and grey spots on the stems. The tiny black fruiting bodies develop in the stem lesions. It is found on Salix species and persistent attacks will kill the tree.

The Canker (Cytospora valsa) causes the browning and death of branches in Picea abies and Picea pungens. This infection occurs normally from the base of the tree with infected needles falling, and white resinous patches appearing on the bark accompanied by cankers with tiny black fruiting bodies.

The Canker (Corynneum cardinale) is a casual fungus that invades wounds and infects living bark and associated cambium turning the foliage yellowish. As it spreads it girdles the branch killing it and ultimately the top of the tree dies out. Cankers eventually form in the trunk and ooze resin. It is found on Cypress.

   Platanus x hybrida

Cankerstain (Ceratocystis fimbriata f. platani) forms sunken cankers on the trunk and large limbs forming longitudinal cracks and roughened bark. Infected areas form callus around the margins which dies off and when cut open, dark coloured streaks are revealed extending to the central pith. These streaks then radiate out into uninfected wood resulting in the thinning of the crown and producing unusual small leaves. It is normally transmitted through poor tree surgery techniques and infected tools.

Cytospora Canker

Cytospora Canker (Cytospora chrysosperma) is a casual fungus that infects the young twigs, then moving to the stems, branches and trunk causing brown sunken areas to appear that is covered in red pustules. The fungus tends to attack trees that are in poor health. Control requires the removal of infected branches and improved culture to regain the plants vigour. Sorbus aucuparia, Salix and Popular species are susceptible.

Cypress Canker

Cypress Canker (Seiridium species) enters the plant through wounds or through insect damage causes the bark to spread revealing brown powdery spores that are accompanied by oozing resin. The canker eventually girdles the branch or trunk causing ringbarking and the death of the plant.

Nectria Canker (Nectria Cinnabarina) forms cankers on the twigs and small branches producing red fruiting bodies and eventually killing the tree. It is found in many parts of the world infecting a range of trees including hardwoods.

          Populus nigra

Poplar Canker (Cryptodiaporthe populea) infects the cambium layer damaging the bark and sapwood where the elongated sunken canker forms. Branches are girdled causing the upper portion to die off. This is a serious problem for Populus nigra var. Italica entering the plant through wounds or the leaves then spreading to twigs and branches. Control is difficult as removal of infected parts will not eradicate the problem, but encourage it. Young plants may be sprayed with a copper based fungicide to reduce leaf infection and heavily infected plants should be removed the burnt.

Stem Canker of Red Flowering Gum (Sporotrichum destructor) enters through wounds in the bark forming cankers in the trunk and branches, splitting the bark apart, revealing the wood and infesting the surface with powdery spores. This infection causes the leaves to wither and then the branches die, eventually killing the tree.

Stem Canker (Strumella coryneoidea) is a casual fungus that forms on the trunks of trees as a smooth, dispersed or sunken infection. On mature trees the infection sheds the bark with the canker forming callus tissue around the margins and the centre being exposed. These cankers then tend to extend up and down the trunk, only girdling over a long period of time. It is found on Quercus, Fagus, Aesculus species, and Acer rubrum , Nyssa sylvatica, Carya ovata and Morinda citrifolia.

Source and Dispersal

The spores are found on infected dead plant material and can be dispersed by wind and with splashing water.

Favoured Conditions

It prefers a warm humid conditions and plants that have a wounds derived from poor pruning techniques and insect or other damage, especially if water is allowed to settle on the wound.


Affected Plants

Cankers may infect a wide range of trees and shrubs with some species being specific to its host. Examples are listed below.

Abies species are infected by several cankers including (Cytospora pinastri), (Cryptosporium macrospermum) and (Scoleconectria balsamea). These fungi form dead sunken areas on the trunk and branches.

Alnus species are infected by a few cankers including (Nectria coccinea) and (Physalospora obtusa) these attack the branches causing die back.

Betula species may be infected by the Canker (Nectria galligena) that occurs in the forks of trees causing splitting and cracking of the bark by swelling, to reveal the canker. Callus rings may form around the affected areas as a defence mechanism triggered by the tree.

Buxus species are infected by the Canker (Pseudonectria rousseliana) which shows signs of poor new growth during spring with the leaves turning from light green to a tan colour. These leaves tend to lay flat along the stems and reddish pustules appear both on the stems and leaves. The bark becomes loose and on inspection reveals a darkish colour underneath. It is difficult to control and the canker can kill the plant.

Castanea species are infected by the Twig Canker (Cryptodiaporthe castanea), a fungal problem that causes significant damage to the twigs and small branches, but tends to attack stressed trees.

Cercis and Ribes species are infected by the Canker (Botryosphaeria ribis) which forms small sunken areas on the stems causing wilting and eventually killing the branch by girdling. The cankers turn the bark black then split it open and the adjoining wood becomes discoloured. This is a serious problem for this and many other plant species.

Cotoneaster, Betula, Catalpa and Aesculus species are infected by the canker (Physalospora obtusa).

                  Cypress Canker

Cupressus species and Chamaecyparis lawsoniana are susceptible to Cypress Canker (Seiridium species) which causes leaf browning and then girdles the trunks resulting in ringbark. There is also another Canker (Coryneum cardinale) that has simular characteristics and is found in the northern hemisphere.

Cupressus sempervirens is infected by Cytospora Canker (Cytospora cenisia var. littoralis).

Larix species are susceptible to several fungal cankers including (Trichoscyphella wilkommii), (Trichoscyphella ellisiana), (Aleurodiscus amorphus), (Leucostoma Kunzei) and (Phomopsis spp.)

Nyssa sylvatica is attacked by three cankers including (Strumella coryneoidea).

Pinus species are infected by many types of cankers.

Platanus species are infected by Cankerstain.

Cytospora Canker on Salix babylonica

Pseudotsuga menziesii Douglas Fir is attacked by several cankers including (Cytospora species), (Dasyscypha ellisiana), (Dasyscypha pseudotsugae), (Phacidiopycnis pseudotsugae) and (Phomopsis lokoyae). These infections normally do not require control and are more prevalent on the coastal form.

Salix and Populus species are infected by several cankers including Cytospora Canker (Cytospora chrysosperma), Hypoxylon Canker (Hypoxylon pruinatum), Septoria Canker (Mycosphaerella populorum) and Branch Gall (Macrophoma tumefaciens). Many of these fungi can cause the death of the plant.

Thuja orientalis, Cupressus and Juniperus species are infected by the canker (Corynneum cardinale).

Tilia and Acer species are infected by (Nectria cinnabarina) attacking twigs or branches.

Tsuga species are infected by several cankers including (Dermatea balsamea) and ( Cytospora species).

Ulmus species are infected with up to eight fungal cankers including (Apioporthe apiospora) and (Nectria coccinea).

Vaccinium ovatum is infected by the canker (Coryneum microstictum) which attacks the stems.

Vinca species are infected by canker-dieback (Phomopsis livella) causing the shoots to wilt, turn brown and die. This can reduce the plant to ground level, and normally occurs during rainy periods.

Non-chemical Control

It is very difficult to control and correct pruning techniques with sharp tools for repairing wounds or prune well below the infected areas. Ensure that there are no ragged edges on the cuts and the angle should cut allows water to run off or dress the wound. Plant resistant varieties when available. Heavily infected trees should be removed to avoid spreading the disease.

Improve the culture of the affected plant to increase vigour for greater resistance.

Chemical Control

There is no satisfactory chemical control and prevention is imperative.


Always read the label for registration details and direction of use prior to application of any chemicals.

Various Lichen Species




     Various Lichen Species


A fungus and an alga growing in a symbiotic relationship.  The food producing alga is given support and shelter by the fungus.


Lichens are variable, occurring in many shapes, sizes and colours from flat to circular and may be leaf like crinkly or hairy.  The colour also varies from greenish grey to yellow or orange.  They occur on many surfaces including tree trunks, rocks, fences and roof tiles.  They cause little harm to living plants and certain types are attractive while others are unsightly.  

Fagus sylvatica     

Source and Dispersal

Contaminated areas, and is dispersed by wind or splashing water.

Favoured Conditions

Conditions are variable as some types prefer cool moist situations while others tolerate open exposed positions.



Affected Plants

There are many plants that form lichens on the bark, particular old woody trees that are in shaded moist positions. Shrubs and Palms also form coverage of lichens on there stems under moist conditions.

Archontophoenix cunninghamiana     

Non-chemical Control

Under normal circumstances, unnecessary but lichens can be removed by scraping or scrubbing.

Chemical Control

Not normally required but lichens can be killed by spraying the fungicide copper oxychloride but take care as the chemical may damage certain building materials.


Always read the label for registration details and direction of use prior to application of any chemicals.

Wind Injury
Environmental (Wind)



     Wind Injury

     Environmental (Wind)


This environmental problem relates to damage of the leaves and fruit from wind. Generally the leaves damaged from cold or hot dry wind causing them to have a burnt appearance as they turn brown. Leaves may also be shredded or damaged hindering natural growth. Trees and shrubs often have branches torn from strong winds or trees may be toppled.

Acer palmatum

Favoured Conditions

Plants are more damaged in exposed positions by strong winds that prevail during spring and autumn while the fruit is developing.


Affected Plants

Many plants are affected by wind injury including house plants such as ferns that are placed in draft or shrubs or trees planted in an open exposed position.  

Acer species leaves are susceptible to drying out from excessive hot dry wind.

Citrus species.  New foliage is torn or damaged causing the surrounding cells to develop into a leaf that is misshaped or puckered and is noticeable when the leaf is mature. The skin of fruit is also damaged from excessive rubbing against other fruit or twigs forming a scabby pattern.

Mahonia aquifolium leaves are scorched by late winter to early spring cold winds and require protection in cool climates.

Non-chemical Control

When planting select a protected position or for established plants provide a windbreak.

Chemical Control

Not applicable in this case.

Leaf to 120 mm (5 in) long
'Dissectum Atropurpureum'
Seed and flower

Plant Photo Gallery - Click thumbnails to enlarge

Climate zone

This Plant tolerates zones 5-10

Average Lowest Temperature : -10º C 14º F

USDA : 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

This USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) hardiness zone chart can be used to indicate a plant’s ability to withstand average minimum temperatures. However, other factors such as soil type, pH, and moisture, drainage, humidity and exposure to sun and wind will also have a direct effect on your plant’s survival. Use this chart only as a guide, always keep the other factors in mind when deciding where, when and what to plant.

A plant's individual USDA zone can be found in the Plant Overview.

Region of origin

Japan, (Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu) southern Korea

Climate Description

Cool to Cold
These zones have low winter temperatures with moderate humidity and moderate summer temperatures.
Frosts and snow are severe. Droughts rarely occur and wind is cold.

Plant growth

Endemic native and exotic cool climate plants grow well within these zones.


Dictionary Growth Habit
Leaf Type Botanic Flower Description
Leaf Shape Flower Inflorescence
Leaf Arrangement Fruit Type
Leaf Margin Bark Type
Leaf Apex And Bases Flower Description