The Q&A Archives: tree soot?

Question: I have atree in my west facing side yard. Every year in aug. it gets black sooty stuff on it,and all the plants under and around it. In the spring the leaves come back bright green, so do the other plants. What is this.It doesn't seem to harm the plants.

Answer: The black film is likely a sooty mold that grows on the honeydew produced by the feeding of aphids or other sucking insects. You can spray with insecticidal soap to get rid of the aphids or other insect pests, and this may wash off the sticky coating and the mold as well. If not, it will weather away on its own. It won't return once you have controlled the insect pests.

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