Thursday, July 25, 2013

Meet the Bay Suckers

Bay sucker is one of the common names for a psyllid (Trioza alacaris ) that attacks the bay laurel (Laurus nobilis). I just recently had a sample brought to me from a laurel that was infested with these pests. The signs of infestation include distorted foliage and discoloration of the leaves around the distorted areas. This pest is a problem in many parts of the world including Great Brittain. Here the treatment is to prune back the affected foliage and clean up any leaf litter around the base of the tree. It is also a good idea to look at the trees feeding and watering regime. Psyllids and insects like them are fond of soft, nitrogen rich foliage. Laurels growing in shaded areas, receiving to frequent irrigation and especially those that exposed to excess nitrogen (through fertilization and breakdown of too rich compost) are more susceptible to this pest. Once established laurels should not need to be fertilized. It's also a good idea to plant varieties like 'Saratoga' that are resistant to the psyllid. 

Laurus nobilis shoots showing damage from the Bay succker (Trioza alarcis). 

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