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mealy bugs in succulents planted in ground

9 years ago

I have a yard full, perhaps 200 succulents and cacti, most are planted in the ground, some in pots. I have been finding plant after plant infested with what I have read are mealy bugs. I'm in San Diego. I see is white gunk in the center of rosets, where leaves attach to the stem and also black and brown scarring of the leaves which may or may not be related. It's often hard to tell at the beginning of a plant infestation because it can look similar to the granular pumice stone I mix in the soil. Not every plant appears infested yet, but who knows what is lurking under the dirt. Also succulents are slow to show problems. My yard has ants that I try to keep under control but it's not easy. Also many spiders, black and brown widows. What can I use? Do I have to TRASH my PLANTS? DO I have to TRASH the DIRT too? It's getting exhausting to wash each plant one at a time with water, dishwasher soap and rubbing alcohol, only to find the problem comes back a week later. I have been trashing the roots (beheading) when I find this, since I cannot see if it is in the roots. Help please, the nurseries don't know what else to recommend. Also, I don't want to kill one pest only to invite a new one. Thank you.

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