The Q&A Archives: Star Jasmine infected with tiny black dots! Help!

Question: We have numerous star jasmines on our apartment patio. They are planted in large plants with trellis?. I take very special care of them and they have been with me for 3 years. I noticed yesterday that the white flowers are starting to turn brown and fall and both plants are completely covered with tons of tiny black dots. The dots are very small so I an unable to tell if they are a bug, eggs, or a fungus. Do you know what this is and how do I get rid of it to save my plants?

Thank you,
Angela Richardson

Answer: Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) has no serious pests of record so I can't even venture an educated guess as to what the problem is with yours. Tiny black dots could be insects, or could be frass (bug poop). Try holding a sheet a paper under the stems and sharply tapping the stems to dislodge the black spots. After the spots drop onto the paper, watch them closely to see if they move. If so, they're probably spidermites. To confirm this, look at the plant to see if you can find webbing. If so, the black dots are spider mites. If none of the above applies, you're dealing with some other problem and you may have to take a few of the affected stems to your Cooperative Extension office or well staffed nursery for positive identification of the problem. If it were my plant, I'd hose it off to try to rinse away the black spots and give the plant a chance to recover from whatever it is that has taken up residence. Wish I had more suggestions for you!

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