So Why Does Your Bonsai Tree Have Sticky Leaves?
Does My Bonsai Have Aphids Or Scales?
If your bonsai tree has sticky leaves, I wouldn’t worry about trying to diagnose whether it is infested with either scale pests or aphids. This is because the treatment is the same regardless of which pest you are dealing with, so wasting time trying to figure out which has infested your tree is relatively pointless.
- Scales are small wingless insects that tend to live on the branches of a bonsai tree, rarely on just the foliage.
- Aphids tend to live on the underside of leaves and come in many different colors, brown, green, red or grey.
How Can You Remove Aphids Or Scale Pests From Your Bonsai?
The most common ways to get rid of pests on your bonsai tree are:
- Soapy water
- Vinegar solution sprayed
- Pesticide treatments applied
All of these 3 methods for removing the pests causing sticky leaves on your bonsai tree are very effective. For most small infestations the soapy water method will work but with a larger pest problem you may need to use the pesticide method.
So, this is how you can remove the aphids or scale pests using soapy water…
1. Move the bonsai tree outdoors (unless it’s an outdoor tree, in which case you’re all good)
2. Using a hose on low pressure, start washing the tree with water. Ensure you cover all of the branches, small branches and even the underside of the leaves, be very thorough.
3. Create a mix of water and 2-3 drops of soap.
4. Apply that mix to the tree gently, ensuring you thoroughly clean it to get rid of the insects.
5. Using a clean wet cloth, wipe the bonsai tree all over to ensure the soapy solution is all removed.
6. Return the tree to it’s usual growing conditions and keep a close check on any insects, should they come back.
If this simple method doesn’t remove the pests from your bonsai tree or they come back in force, the final option would be to bring in vinegar. Create a solution of 2 parts water, 1 part vinegar and fill a misting spray bottle with it. If you treat your bonsai tree with this, the insects are going to die off extremely fast.
The vinegar method is very effective but for most light pest infections the soapy water solution should suffice. Should this sticky foliage issue keep coming back, I would take your bonsai tree to a specialist at a local bonsai nursery. They can often recommend great products to use such as pesticides that will be fine to use on your species.
Pesticides are riskier to use as when used incorrectly to treat aphids, they can actually do just as much damage to your bonsai tree. Most are said to be relatively safe when used correctly and shouldn’t actually leave any toxins on your tree. Going down the pesticide route could take a while as usually multiple treatments are needed, however this greatly reduces the possibility of the pests coming back any time soon.
If your bonsai tree has sticky leaves, aphids and scale pests are usually the culprits. They aren’t dangerous and can be easily treated using a soapy water solution or by spraying a solution of two parts water, one part vinegar over the infested areas. Pesticides can be used in small doses to treat these pests too but I would advise contacting your local bonsai nursery first to ensure the product you use is safe for your tree species.
Treating your bonsai tree for aphids and pests should be done as soon as you notice the insects or the honeydew secreted. Keeping up a proper care routine for your bonsai after treating is the best way to nurse it back to full health and ensure the tree hasn’t taken too much of a toll.