I have attached a picture of white "pus" like growth at the base of branches on my redwood tree.

enter image description here

I looked through the posts talking about white fungus growth on trees. But I am not able to diagnose if this is the same thing. Can anyone please identify what this growth is and how to heal this? This plant is very dear to me and I really don't want to see such a magnificient tree dying.

Additional Facts on how I am growing the tree: The tree is about 3 years old and ~17 inches tall. It is planted in a 2 gallon pot. Should I repot into something bigger or wait till the tree gets a little bigger? I water it well every 2-3 days and I live in sunny Southern California. So it receives sufficient sunlight year-round. I used good potting soil and I supplement with fish fertilizer (which has strong nitrogen content), as redwood trees like nitrogen rich soil.

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    I was looking for evidence of 'spittle bug' and I am sorry, I don't see your 'pus'. I do see the beginning of browned tips usually caused by tap water and the rest of your little tree is NOT happy. Not a problem if we can figure this out. How big is that plant? Could you send a picture of the pot AND plant? Lots of problems when one plants a small plant in a too big pot! 2 gal is pretty big for what I think I am seeing. Have you fertilized? With what? Is this just potting soil nothing added? Are there rocks or gravel between the soil and the drain hole? Has this plant been outdoors?
    – stormy
    Nov 5, 2016 at 21:45
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    Fish fertilizer isn't a 'fertilizer' per se. Sure it has some nitrogen but I use fish fertilizer as a rare supplement that (psssst, some very excellent plant experts say that it is unknown why fish fertilizer is a good boost but it is not about the Nitrogen). Are you making this guy into a Bonsai?? Do you happen to have equisetum or horse tail in your neighborhood? Great addition of silica that also adds to HARDINESS to a plant. Need to know more so we can save this guy. Are you talking about the thin white rings at the base? Why do you say pus-like? Picture of pot and plant!!
    – stormy
    Nov 5, 2016 at 21:59
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    Definitely looks like TOO MUCH water. Need to see a picture of the plant and pot. Just a too big pot could be causing this as there isn't enough plant to suck up the amount of water available in a too big pot so we get wet roots...it would be helpful to have you pop that plant out of the pot to show us the roots. Are they all white or are there yellowed and brownish shriveled crispy roots? What does that root ball smell like? Sweet earth or a bit stinky? Like rot?
    – stormy
    Nov 5, 2016 at 22:04
  • @stormy I re-potted the plant in a one gallon pot. Next I trimmed off the branches that are starting to droop (most of them sadly). Next the new soil I used is potting soil mixed with Bonsai soil. Although I am not trying to grow it as a bonsai, it seems to have the right amount of Nitrogen and drainage for this tree. Lastly, I keep this tree outdoors where it receives plenty of sunlight. The top of the plant is still budding and growing. So is it at all possible to salvage this plant?
    – Christian
    Nov 6, 2016 at 19:16
  • Did you do the section off one branch? I hate to tell you that this white mold is not a little thing...once a plant gets it from one teeny tiny spore from the soil that plant is DONE. Sclerotinia is a death sentence and worse it knows how to spread itself very intelligently. Please read that article I sent, look it up and check it out. The cross section/lengthwise section is pretty definitive. Otherwise it still looks like fungus and root rot and well, the plant is done, sweety. Don't bury it. Double bag it and call your Cooperative Ext. service for disposal...sorry. Be very tidy!!!!
    – stormy
    Nov 7, 2016 at 8:24

2 Answers 2


Looking at this one picture, correct me if I am wrong, but every little branch off the main stem with a little white ring has drooped or lost their turgidity. When you said 'pus' were there softer moister white material where those white rings are now?

Sigh, hope I am wrong, but moist, swollen, bruised looking nodes with white crap oozing out is usually Sclerotinia sclerotiorum or White Mold. Not cool, if this is what it is and we shall soon find out for sure. This mold actually makes incredible CAPSULES so when the plant dies (which it will there is NO TREATMENT) that capsule (looks like a rabbit or hamster poo pellet)will innoculate the soil with itself to be passed on to other plants/crops. It probably came in with your plant from the nursery. IF I AM RIGHT.

Those branches that have drooped probably are full of these quite large black soft capsules. If you could, please get a razor blade, cut off one of these branches without damaging the main stem for now. Try to cut the base of that branch lengthwise. Look back at where you cut away the branch on the main stem. You might be able to see these capsules there as well...they will be 1/4" to 1/2" oblong. If there are black capsules that plant needs to be destroyed, not just thrown away. Sorry if that is what you find!! The soil, every bit of it carefully sequestered in a plastic trash liner AND then a second one for good measure. The pot soaked in a solution of bleach. Heck, I'd probably put that in the plastic bags as well!

This ONE little fungus is one heck of a plant destroyer. It is the cause of billions of dollars of cash crops especially soy beans. Horribly contagious and runs the gamut of plant families. Please try this dissection, take a picture and please send. Keep this plant away from all other plants/soil/pruners until we've been able to eliminate white mold as the problem.

There is no treatment at all for this disease. No hope for any plant that has this particular fungus. So get a razor blade, be careful, use newspaper under your plant and surgery and wash your hands afterwards like a doctor!!

examples of Sclerotinia White Mold

  • I reckon you've cracked it, point given - sad that, whether its white or grey mould, its done for...
    – Bamboo
    Nov 5, 2016 at 23:12
  • This picture from the link appears to show some of the black capsules, labeled A. Nov 6, 2016 at 4:23

There appears to be some needle dieback as well, along with a black spot or two on the needles - although the fungal growth isn't grey, I'm wondering if its grey mould, a form of botrytis. It most often afflicts seedlings or young saplings, but can also affect larger specimens - its more likely if the plant is or has been stressed for some reason, such as very high temperatures or dryness at the root and so on. If it is that, its invariably fatal I'm afraid - some technical info in the link below which is aimed at nursery growers, but might be useful to help you decide whether its that or not


  • Gosh, this might be a candidate for Sclerotinia or White mold. This is where one first sees evidence of this stuff right at those nodes. Looks like entire branches are being cut off from water thus bending and drooping away from the main stem.
    – stormy
    Nov 5, 2016 at 22:06
  • @stormy I think you might be right,why don't you post it as an answer....
    – Bamboo
    Nov 5, 2016 at 22:53

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