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

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Wednesday - August 14, 2013

From: Charlottesville, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pests, Vines
Title: Tip Dieback on Lonicera sempervirens
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I have a Lonicera sempervirens (coral honeysuckle) vine in Virginia which does well early in the season, but then around July, the very tips of its shoots (just the last 1-2 inches) wither, turn black, and die. It looks like the kind of damage a cane borer would cause. Except for this, the rest of the plant seems healthy. I'd be grateful for any advice about what the problem may be, and how to fix it.

ANSWER:

Lonicera sempervirens (trumpet honeysuckle) is a popular garden plant that could have problems with aphids, soft-bodied sucking insects that excrete a sugary substance (honeydew) that coats the leaves. A black fungus (sooty mold) then will grow on the honeydew.  Aphid damage often occurs on the new growth. Other problems include leaf spot diseases and environmental damage from drought, drowning and edema reports the University of Illinois extension.

Other problems reported by Edward F. Gilman from the University of Florida extension could include four-lined plant bug causing sunken, round, brown spots on the leaves. Scale insects infesting the stems and branches or powdery mildews forming white dust-like substances on the leaves.

Nancy Szerlag on the gardening.yardiner.com website offers one additional (and more likely) possibility, honeysuckle leaf blight. She has observed that a fungal blight disease attacks new honeysuckle leaves causing them to curl severely and turn brown or black, then fall prematurely. Remove and destroy infected plant parts and spray the vines every 7 to 10 days with a copper-based fungicide from the time buds swell to just before flowers open.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

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