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

Yellowing leaves
May 06, 2008 - What causes yellowing of native garden plant leaves?
view the full question and answer

Problems with maple in Denver
June 09, 2011 - I live in Denver, CO and planted an Autumn Blaze maple three years ago. It has done very well until about a week ago. The leaves are drying out and falling off and earlier today I noticed some bugs ...
view the full question and answer

Spots on non-native naval orange trees from Stockton CA
October 20, 2012 - I have two mature Navel Orange trees. One tree has developed spotty chlorophyl depleted areas that were not on the oranges when they were smaller. In addition, the oranges on both trees are smaller ,...
view the full question and answer

Need to identify leaf extensions on the leaves of an elm sapling in Houston, Tx.
May 22, 2013 - I have an elm sapling which grows strange leave extensions on its leaves. Can I send you a picture? Tree looks healthy
view the full question and answer

Bark splitting in old tulip tree in Red Creek, NY.
May 18, 2013 - Hello, We have a tulip tree that has some bark splitting I guess I would call it. The tree is older and very tall. On the north side of it starting at the bottom of the trunk to about 8-9 feet up i...
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