Orlando Sentinel


Coffee grounds may help sick sago plants
Coffee grounds may give a boost to sick cycads

Tom Broome says mulching sago plants with coffee
grounds helps control Asian cycad scale.


Coffee treatment
Mulch around the base of the sago -- infected or not -- with coffee grounds. Place a clump of coffee grounds in the top of the plant as well. Put coffee grounds into fine mesh or cloth and lower it into water, allowing the water to sit in the sun to "percolate." When the mixture looks like weak coffee, put it in a spray bottle and spray on sagos.

Repeat every 3 to 4 months.

Cost: Free.

SOURCE: Tom Broome, The Cycad Jungle
Traditional treatment

Use petroleum oil, such as Volck or Ultra Fine, and follow directions to apply. Spray two or three times, with each spray a week apart. If leaves are heavy with the white scale you can cut some off, but if you can leave some on and treat your sago it will be healthier.

If you are still having problems, you can use a stronger chemical such as malathion or cygon, which will be absorbed throughout the plant.

Also, there are more expensive products such as Safari or Distance that can be bought at chemical stores, such as LESCO or Pierson Supply. They cost a few hundred dollars and will last up to six months.

Cost: Can be into the hundreds.

SOURCE: Florida Extension Service
Emerging treatment

Not a true "treatment," but rather an effort to eradicate the scale, the University of Florida is researching biological controls including natural predators of the scale. Efforts include a small parasitic wasp.

Cost: Nothing for consumers yet. Funding includes about $50,000 annually in grant funding for cycad scale research.

SOURCE: University of Florida

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