Black stuff on leaves - Knowledgebase Question

Beaumont, Te
Question by yust
October 16, 2009
I live in Beaumont, TX and container garden big time on a large deck- there is this black stuff that first appeared on my Yesterday,today and tomorrow and is now spreading to other plants...what is this and how to I get rid of it? It 'wipes' off but there must be something other than hand wiping in the interest of time. Thanks...

Answer from NGA
October 16, 2009


What you describe sounds like sooty mold. It appears on the leaves when insects, usually aphids, are feeding on the fluids within the tissues of your plants. When they feed they exude a sticky substance called honeydew. As the honeydew ages it turns black. The coating is on the surface of the leaves and can be wiped off or will wash off with the rain. To control the sooty mold you just need to control the insects feeding on your plants. Aphids can be washed off with a strong stream of water from the hose or you can spray your plants with Insecticidal Soap. Be sure to spray the upper and lower leaf surfaces and you may have to make repeat applications in order to control the entire population. Some plants are sensitive to the fatty acids in insecticidal soap sprays. Read the label to make sure your plants are listed as safe. If you don't find your plants listed you can still use the product but you'll want to rinse it off after about 10 minutes. And, you'll want to spray in the morning or the evening when hot sunshine is not hitting your plants. Best wishes with your container garden!

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