The Q&A Archives: Help with sick honeysuckle

Question: Please help. I have an established honeysuckle (3 years old). This year it has been plagued with mold. This is a white sticky looking yet powdery mold. I have sprayed with fungicide, but it has not helped. Is there anything I can do to save this shrub?

Answer: It's sounds like powdery mildew but if you have sprayed a fungicide and it isn't helping, perhaps it's not a disease at all. Carefully inspect the leaves. If there are sucking insects such as aphids, that might account for the sticky substance you're seeing. When these insects feed they exude a sticky substance called honeydew. It is high enough in sugar content that it can sometimes promote a fungal or bacterial growth. When this happens it looks like a black substance and it is called sooty mold. If you find insects feeding on your honeysuckle leaves, insecticidal soap will help control the pests. If you do not find pests on your plant, the best thing to do is to cut your honeysuckle back, both to remove the affected plant parts and to encourage healthy new growth. (An added bonus is that it will open the plant up to better sunlight penetration and air circulation - both will help your plant avoid disease problems.) Since honeysuckles bloom on new growth, you may even get some more flowers this season. If not, you'll surely get some next year!

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