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

Problems with evergreen sumac in San Antonio
May 03, 2012 - I planted 5 5-gallon (approximately 2 feet tall) evergreen sumac in early January. Since that time they have sprouted out new shoot with new leaves several times - every time the leaves have wilted a...
view the full question and answer

Premature leaf drop on Red Maple in Kentucky
June 25, 2008 - I have a ten foot Red Maple tree that has been set out for 4 years. Its leaves have slowly turned colors until it currently looks like fall. The leaves are not falling off nor is there yet any s...
view the full question and answer

When is the best time to trim oak trees in Driftwood TX?
September 09, 2010 - When is the best time to trim oak trees?
view the full question and answer

New nursery plants with sappy spots from Round Rock, TX
September 09, 2012 - We live on the west side of RR, near Cedar Park and recently bought three 15 gallon cherry laurels from a nursery. Started to plant them today as we bought them a week ago and noticed base of the trun...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Eves necklacepods (Styphnolobium affine)
March 25, 2008 - Mr. S-P, I urgently need your advice regarding two Eve's necklacepods that appear to be dying. They are in two completely different areas of my yard. One began leafing out and then the leaves sh...
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