En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - September 23, 2010

From: San Marcos, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Sooty mold on Sophora secundiflora in San Marcos, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. SP, We have a Sophora secundiflora that is suffering with very black mold or fungus on most of its leaves. Last year, I washed it leaf-by-leaf with soapy water but it's getting too big to continue that. The tree right next to it shows no sign of the problem. The cover is so thick that the tree, except for new growth, looks black. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

What you are experiencing is an attack of sooty mold on your your Mountain Laurel. The sooty mold is a fungus, and while it  isn't particularly harmful to your plant, it is unsightly. The fungus is growing on honey dew which is a sticky substance that is being excreted by aphids or other scale insects as they feed on your plants. Since the aphids are so small, they are often not noticed until the sooty molds tips you off to their presence. If the sooty mold becomes thick enough, it can prevent leaves from receiving adequate sunlight.

Here are three sources of information about this problem. The University of California at Davis Integrated Pest Management Program has two good articles; one on sooty mold, and one on aphids. This article from the USDA tells how to recognize and control sooty mold.

 

 

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Recovery of water-stressed Agarita
August 11, 2014 - Hello! I planted a small agarita at the end of May and then left town for six weeks. During that time it was supposed to receive weekly deep irrigations to help it establish, but it seems that som...
view the full question and answer

Verticillium wilt in catalpa and maple
July 17, 2008 - On Monday - July 07, 2008, you answered a question about a catalpa and maple with the same problem--an entire branch died, and then more of the tree died. And both trees came from the same nursery. Th...
view the full question and answer

Fasciation on Texas Mountain Laurel
November 21, 2012 - Do Texas Mountain Laurel normally have a staghorn looking growth hanging on them after blooming in addition to the seed pod clusters or could this be a mutation?
view the full question and answer

Hypoxylon Canker removal in Austin TX
March 26, 2012 - I have several oaks that appear to have been killed by Hypoxylon atropunctatum from last summer's drought. Is it safe to cut them down in March or does that risk spreading Oak Wilt too. Should I ...
view the full question and answer

Tree Lost Leaves
September 05, 2013 - Are leaf cutter ants found in Michigan too? My leaves are being completely stripped off the tree. It went from growing very well when we planted it, to having completely no leaves at all. I know the l...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center