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Past Articles Library | Plant Diseases & Control | Sooty Mold



 

SOOTY MOLD

The good news about Sooty Mold, a fungus, is that it usually doesn't harm the plants, but it does indicate a serious infestation of piercing-sucking insects like aphid, scale, or mealybug.

 

 

PLANTS MOST AFFECTED

Can affect any plant or tree.

 

 

DAMAGE

Leaves and other plant parts, even tree trunks, show a dark gray or black sooty layer over their surfaces. Sooty mold can be easily wiped off to show healthy tissue below. Sometimes the fungus forms a papery black layer that can be peeled away from the leaf surface. The mold grows on the sugars in the sticky honeydew that is excreted by piercing-sucking insects like aphid, mealybug, whitefly and scale. Fortunately, the mold does not get into the plant's tissues, but it can however, if severe enough to the point where the entire leaf surface is covered, block light to the leaf which can produce poor, stunted growth, or even collapse of the plant. Sooty mold spreads very quickly in warm, moist conditions.

 
 

MEANS OF CONTROL

  • Rinse any sticky leaves with water to wash off honeydew before the mold can grow.

  • If any aphid, mealybug, whitefly, or scale or other sucking insects are seen, employ immediate measures to control populations before they get out of hand.

  • Spray with anti-fungal like Neem oil.



 







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Gardening-tip:



Fungi Problems?

Mushrooms usually appear during the rainy months, but they can appear throughout the year.

If you have lots of mushrooms growing after regular watering, it could mean compacted soil is not allowing water to drain properly.

Allow the area to dry out, aerate it, and apply some gypsite to help make the soil more porous.


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