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fydesvindico

scale infestation or something else?

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Hi all,

 

I will admit that I have been a little neglectful with my cacti this past year.. but what the hell is this!?

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I've always battled scale, and have usually managed to get on top of it (for a while) when I finally get around to it.. but this has to be something else.. within a year, nearly all of my cacti are infected to a similar degree.

 

I guess when I noticed it a few months back I thought.. ugh just a bit of scale and some sun burn.. but now that I've gotten around to doing something... it appears it may be too late..

 

Nearly all of my cacti (many) are in a similar situation (except for new pups coming through). It starts at the base in what (I thought) looked like a bad scale infestation, but then starts overtaking. It's just on the surface and can be scraped off (some parts are thicker and more barnacle like) but it legit peels off like a sheet of film when U get a good hold of it. See the pic where I've scraped some off with the blunt side of a butter knife. new growth doesn't appear to be affected (yet).

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What is it? Can I save my plants or am I better off salvaging what I can from cuttings and ditching all my stock?

 

I started scraping one to get an idea if I can save them,  but it's just too tedious and time consuming (I have too many cacti to consider this an option)...and I don't know if it's just gonna come back again. Some plants have no green skin left!!

 

(keep in mind this has happened pretty quickly - like in maybe 6 months)

 

And yes. I am disappointed in myself don't you worry. I feel terrible I didn't get to them sooner.

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This is a mix of extreme scarring after scale and neglect + secondary fungal infections. Scale insects are constantly opening entry doors for pathogens and there's plenty of fungal spots and scars that are a direct result of the scale infestation on the plants. Imo you should probably improve the conditions before you do anything else. More sun, quality fertilizer, mineral soil, regular weeding etc. These kinds of problems are directly connected to poor environmental conditions. Scale is a problem, but healthy plants should be able to suppress them. 

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Thanks EG ...yeah conditions have been pretty terrible to be honest. They were doing pretty well in the gound until we had floods.. then there was rot. So then they came out and went into pots.. then they were forgotten...

 

Cool. So, repot. Healthy soil, fert. Water. New position, care. Love...

 

And they may come right U reckon?

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Oh.. and what do you think.. am I better off not scraping them? (as I'd imagine this would probably cause more points of entry for bacteria etc. Just improve conditions and go from there?

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