Black Sooty Substance - Knowledgebase Question

Des Arc, Ar
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Question by jhinson000
March 10, 2009
My azaleas have a black sooty substance on their limbs and leaves . In the past I have use Dysiston(sp). Since this is no longer on the market what should I use.. Systemic products seem to work better but I've not foound one. Judy

Answer from NGA
March 10, 2009
What you describe sounds like sooty mold. Sooty mold is a charcoal black fungus that appears as a black coating on the surface of leaves, fruits, twigs and branches of many deciduous and evergreen shrubs and trees. It is a sign of insect feeding. When sucking insects such as aphids, whiteflies, mealybugs and scales feed, they exude a sticky substance called honeydew. This substance has a high sugar content which then attracts mold spores. The sooty mold will weather away once you control the insect infestation. You can use insecticidal soap sprays to discourage the insect population (repeated sprays may be required). Once you have them under control, there will be no more sooty mold.

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