Parasitic Plant?

About six months ago I noticed some strange sort of fungi, as I thought at the time, growing on the branches of the Melaleuca hedge, Olive tree and Bottle Brush bush. I took a sample to our local garden-cum-hardware shop where you can by everything from garden hoses, seeds, garden tools etc. to chemicals to treat various pests and diseases. The guy who served me just gave me a ‘Portuguese shrug’ and told me to feed the plants to encourage growth. I was also given the same advice by someone else.

Parasitic plant growing on olive tree branches

Parasitic plant growing on olive tree branches


I dutifully fed the plants with slow release blue granular fertilizer and thought nothing more about it until we noticed the Melaleuca was losing all its greenery and was completely bald in several places. Not good for a hedge that was supposed to offer privacy.

Mr. Piglet set to and started scraping off the sprouting fungi while I attempted to consult Mr. Google for an answer.I am no further forward as I write this post except I now know they are called a Parasitic Plant.

Parasitic plant growing on branches of olive tree

Parasitic plant growing on branches of olive tree

What I don’t know as yet if there is a product I can buy which will kill it without killing the host plant. Suggestions welcome!

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8 responses to “Parasitic Plant?

  1. Lovely to see a post from you in the box – even tho’ it is about such a nuisance issue! First of all, methinks you have been feeding the ‘parasite’ more than your poor trees! Secondly I believe you do need help from a qualified horticultural expert ere matters get much worse! Thirdly: have you tried to put ‘images’ on before ‘parasitic plant’ when talking to Mr Google – see that there are hundreds!!! Seems rather like a mistletoe . . . . I wonder whether it would dislike something simple like white oil . . . ? Seems rather a huge job to scrape it all off at this stage, but I myself have been known to attempt ‘jobs’ like this 🙂 ! All the best!!!!

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  2. That’s a tough one. I can’t think of anything. You might try a solution of very dilute sodium benzoate and water in a spray bottle (standard commercial laundry rinse like Canesten, basically, further diluted per the washing instructions on the label and do NOT breathe it or get in your eyes even then) but I doubt it would do anything for this. Also, I have no idea whether it is available in Portugal. The Kiwi bloke in me says ‘chainsaw’ followed by ‘bonfire’ but I suspect that would defeat the purpose!

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    • Matthew… *laughing* chainsaw and bonfire! My,, I would be upset to lose all these trees. the olive trees costs hundreds of euros and the Mals are a hedge to screen my garden/pool for privacy 😦 Again, I will see if we can buy this product in Portugal I have since found many more bushes with this growth attached to it…so I can see I will be conducting some experiments.

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  3. Vicky and George

    Hi Carol, guess what we have just found it in our garden too.

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  4. André Bartolomeu

    Hi,
    As far as i understand, those are Lichen, which are a sign of no pollution as they do not develop on polluted environment.
    They can in fact be a trouble for the trees and from what i know, the most natural way to control it is to remove it manually or using some sort of brush to remove most of it.
    Hope this helps.
    Regards!

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    • Thank you 🙂

      At the moment we have treated the Olive tree with some diluted alchohol. Bought the 75% diluted with 3 parts water then sprayed on the parastic plant. We have only tried on one plant at the moment and keep picking/scraping as much as we can off the remains.

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