Out of three young apple trees, one in particular has been suffering with pest problems, mainly aphids. I check it almost daily, and probably once a week on average I find aphids swarming a terminal bud. It's usually many or none, and when I see them I just smoosh them off gently with my fingers. Today I checked the trees and see these patches of fuzzy white growth on that troubled tree:

Fuzzy white patch on apple tree

Fuzzy white patch on apple tree

Fuzzy white patch on apple tree

I did a little research online and see woolly aphids as a potential culprit. I did have aphids as I mentioned, but I haven't seen any there in a few days - this is a lot of material appearing fast! Last I checked this tree was just two days ago.

@Stormy has mentioned that mulching potted trees with wood chips is a bad idea. The other young apple trees don't have wood chips and they are having fewer pest problems, so that seems like good advice. Tomorrow I'll have gardening time and plan to brush off these fuzzy growths and repot this particular apple tree in some fresh soil with no wood chips on top. Any other advice to go along with identification of these growths is appreciated!

1 Answer 1


This stuff is a mold a fungal...growth of some kind. White mycelium. I think what you plan to do is perfect. What bothers me is that it is there at all. Takes lots of moisture, continuous moisture. Are these plants under a patio roof out side?

Is this soil that this plant has potting soil? I do not think this is a big deal at all but we need to change the environment somehow to not persuade this stuff to grow.

There is a taped stem? Looks good! One of these days you will need to ummm change the band aid and allow air to help dry the wound. Scissors to cut and replace with a more breathable tape? Like you said just wipe off these growths the spores are definitely around so wait to transplant until after you've wiped these growths off, hosed the entire plant, allow to dry and then transplant.

And yup glad you read about the debris that really attracts insects and holds moisture way too long. Also probably had the spores of this mold that were able to take off. cool. The one fungus I hope that this is not is sclerotinia. Too late now to worry about it but I would keep this tree away from the others.

Water only when those pots feel light. Allow them to dry out between watering and that will get rid of the fungus. Tell us where these plants live and where it is you live, your zone. Aren't these fungal growths/plants/life forms amazing? Every time I venture into fungus land I am entranced. Sclerotinia sclerotinorum is a very bad fungus. Look it up. I've not seen Sclerotinia in this airy mycelium form. Keep an eye on this guy. Please take pictures after you have cleaned those mycelium clouds off your plant.

Your plans were perfect just try to keep this plant away from your other plants until we know for sure. Take a picture of the entire plant and maybe I can see a good spot to do some investigative surgery.

  • Will follow up more but a quick reply for now: the tape is from a whip-and-tongue graft. The plant is outdoors in zone 4/5 northeast USA. We get enough rain and sun so that I never water the plants. I have it in a pot with potting soil, sitting on pallets to help with drainage
    – cr0
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 16:39
  • Great...ummm...hate to sound so dumb but what is whip and tongue...graft? Is this a graft of something on top of something else that you are trying? And I lived most of my life in zones 3 to 5...Pacific Northwest most of it and I never NOT watered. The Seattle area is one of the wettest places on earth yet I've never had fungus/mycelium like you've got. I've had almost all the other fungal diseases but not this burst of fungus on a stem. Interesting, cr0. When you get time, tell us more, okay?
    – stormy
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 20:26
  • whip and tongue grafting: courses.cit.cornell.edu/hort494/mg/methods.alpha/WTMeth.html it is a local, hardy root stock below the tape, with a tasty, old French variety of apple grafted on above the tape.
    – cr0
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 20:42
  • I think I sort of knew that, grins. So you are grafting your own apples? Plants in pots need to be watched for water. How dare you get away with work in the garden! LOL! What does that stuff look like today? Fans are worth their weight in gold! All of the other plants are free of this fungus?
    – stormy
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 21:31
  • 1
    This is not an insect nest. This is a fungus with major mycelium. Those black dots are totally appropriate. Don't think this is a problem but it is telling us there is too much moisture available.
    – stormy
    Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 20:55

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