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

Friday - December 03, 2010

From: Georgetown, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Diseases and Disorders, Pests, Vines
Title: Fungus Spots on Native Bush Honeysuckle
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

My native bush honeysuckle plants that I have along my back fence have leaves that are turning yellow with spots. It appears to be a type of fungus, but not powdery mildew. Any suggestions as to what I can do?

ANSWER:

First of all, without seeing your plant, there are lots of possible causes of yellowing and spots, so Mr. Smarty Plants’ diagnosis of the cause is likely to be only slightly more valuable than what you paid for it.    To be sure of what is afflicting your vine you should contact your state's Cooperative Extension Service for an accurate diagnosis.

In searching for the issue of leaf-spots on Honeysuckles, the book “Diseases and pests of ornamental plants” by Pascal Pompey Pirone noted that “Five fungi are known to cause leaf spots of bush-honeysuckle” and goes on to list them.  Several other references also mentioned that the Bush Honeysuckle is subject to fungal diseases such as leaf blight, canker and powdery mildew.  So your suspicion that it appears to be a type of fungus is likely to be accurate.  The only other real possibility for the leaf spots is that it might be the effect of Spider mites.   Gardenguides.com notes that “Aphids and spider mites are common insect pests of the honeysuckle species plants. The honeysuckle aphid causes leaves to curl and turn yellow, while the spider mite makes the leaves appear stippled with red or yellow spots” 

With winter quickly approaching, one very natural thing you can do is clean up the yard.  Trim off all the affected vines and make sure all the leaves and other debris are picked up and discarded in the garbage.  This is one time we won’t recommend that you compost the garden debris!  Honeysuckles are OK with pruning; in fact a possible fungal infection will be decreased by opening up the plant, which can be quite dense, to light and good air circulation.

Yardener.com has some good advice for control with natural fungicides. They suggest using baking soda, Neem extracts and/or control with sulphur.  They also have a very appropriate section on Control without fungicides that looks a lot like my “cleanup” advice above.

That’s a reasonable set of suggestions for fungi, but what about spider mites?  Once again, cleaning up is one of the better first steps.  If they are still there in the Spring – then maybe insecticidal soap spray is an effective natural control for insects including both the spider mite and the honeysuckle aphid.

Diervilla sessilifolia (Southern bush honeysuckle)    Diervilla lonicera (Northern bush honeysuckle)

                                     

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Need help with powdery mildew and mites in Bastrop, TX
July 26, 2011 - I tend to flower beds for the city. I have noticed a powdery mildew in 2 beds. It is on the Pavonia and Turks caps. I now notice mites. What should I do?
view the full question and answer

Long term effects of pesticide from Lubbock TX
March 20, 2013 - I have 9 western pecan trees about 20 years old. Trunk sizes is from 18" to 39". I used a product Bayer Tree and Shrub, applied to the trees. I wonder what it will do to the trees. I talkd to Bayer ...
view the full question and answer

Native Grass is Falling Over
November 09, 2011 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I've tried to find this answer but am stumped as to the cause. We live in Fredericksburg, TX and have several different tall grasses, Yellow Indian grass, Little Bluestem, wire...
view the full question and answer

School project on acid rain effects on plants from Austin
October 18, 2013 - Hi I go to an Austin high school and I am doing a project on how acid rain affects plant growth. I am wondering if you know any plants that would be more or less susceptible to acid rain for this proj...
view the full question and answer

Help for Collapsing Tradescantia
August 14, 2013 - My tradescantia has completely collapsed at the crown. The stems are yellowish. This happened once before when I had it planted in full sun and I just had to discard it. This time I have one plante...
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