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I have inherided this tree with my house (evergreen but unsure of type) and I have just noticed this white soft pouch like thing under most of the large branches.... Spider nests? Or fungus? I'm in Edinburgh Scotland :)

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It's scale insect infestation, and the tree looks like Laurus nobilis, or bay tree. If the scale is only present on the woody parts, you can physically remove it - if you have any methylated spirits or 70% isopropyl alcohol, put some on a disposable cloth and rub it all over the woody parts to get them off. You will probably need more than one cloth...and try not to get the meths or alcohol on the leaves. There may be crawlers, or immature scales under the leaves - those will need treating with an insecticide to kill them off, but if you intend to use the leaves from the tree for cooking, you can only use an insecticide suitable for edible crops. Further information here https://www.gardenforumhorticulture.co.uk/pestwatch/scale-insect.htm

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  • Or just a contact insecticide and do a small trimming. New leaves will growth quickly (hopefully scale free, but it is very difficult to get rid of scales: leaves are dense) – Giacomo Catenazzi Jun 16 at 8:23

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