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Plant Diseases/identify spot on holly bush branch


Several white round spots on the base of branches.  When I picked a few off the branch, they had a small round bloody-like center. What is that?  Also, one of the branches broke off like dry wood. I don't know what kind of organism it is and can it be spread to humans?

Hi Rose,

I suspect that your holly plant has an insect problem.  Based on the description, my guess is that this is a scale insect.  Below are two links to publications with lots of pictures of insects of holly including scales.  Look at these links and see if you can determine exactly which you have.  Without an image, I cannot say for certain so you will have to do a close inspection of the plants.

If you do confirm that this is a scale problem, there is a great deal of info at the following link about scales including life cycle and control options.  Take a look at the fact sheet an let me know if you have additional questions.

Good luck,

Plant Diseases

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Jennifer Olson


Plant diseases affecting vegetables, fruits, nuts, lawns, trees, shrubs and ornamental plants. I have just volunteered as an expert on this site as of 01/2011.


Identification and management of plant diseases. Have been employed as a Plant Disease Diagnostician since 2002 and currently work in the Plant Disease and Insect Diagnostic Laboratory at the Oklahoma State University.

National Plant Diagnostic Network, Great Plains Diagnostic Network

B.S. Biology - Lebanon Valley College; M.S. Plant and Soil Sciences,concentration Plant Pathology - University of Delaware; Ph.D. in progress - Oklahoma State University.

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Home gardeners, Hobbiests, Plant Breeders, Extension Educators, Nurseries, Greenhouses, Golf Courses, Departments of Agriculture, Industry professionals

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