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Is this fungus?

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by mowyo, Nov 26, 2009.

  1. mowyo

    mowyo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 84

    Trimmed shrubs at one of my commercial customers this week and noticed some black-looking stuff on the leaves.looks like diesel exhaust.Nearly all privits and foster hollys with plenty of air space around them.The plants all seem to be very healthy.It's not as bad on the sunny side of the building. We
    've had a very wet sept. and oct. here.
    I have a pesticide training manual from U of Tn. and nothing really looks like this stuff .Powdery mildew is closest match but it's white or gray.
    Also these guys are not going to spend a whole lot on this right now.
    Thanks in advance for any ideas.
  2. 44DCNF

    44DCNF LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,585

    Could be sooty mold. Photos would help to narrow it down for you, but that's something you can check online or in your manuals . Are there elm trees nearby/overhead that are infested with elm flea weevils? They will leave tiny holes in the leaves and the leaves drop all season long. Even if not, it could be sooty mold due to the dampness. Research that to see if it looks like it. The beetles (and other leaf mining pests) exude a substance called honeydew as they eat bore through the leaves, as well as the leaf bits they chew, and their feces. The honeydew feeds this mold. Of course it could be other things but that has been real common here with the wet weather and weevils. Makes a mess of cars, siding, roofs, it's on everything around and under the infested trees.
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Do an image seach from several different search engines, using the names, just given.
    Then be sure to post your pictures and let us know. :)
  4. Think Green

    Think Green LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,746

    By what you stated, the plants on the sunny side of the building are fine!
    The homes in my county estate; the ones that have the back doors facing the north are covered with mold. The neighbors that have landscapes facing north all are experiencing mold issues even on the sidings. Not an uncommon problem in moist seasons.
    Be sure that the Fosteri Hollies aren't pitted in the leaves as the mold usually only covers the surface and can be scratched off with the fingernail. Sometimes, cottony scale will cause sooty mold development, so look and make sure there is no cottony looking insects on the undersides and stems of the leaves. Legustrums are another problem with the ailment. Thick dense growing shrubs with large foliage is often succeptible to the ailment.
    IF no insects are present, you can take a hose end sprayer attachment; add some dawn to the bottle and spray all the visible foliage, stems, branches to dissolve the mold. Be carefull of the pressure of the sprayer as to not damage any leaves or in our case here, remove the berries on the hollies. Often I will spray a large shrub and allow the soap to dissolve the mold and move on to the next shrub. I them return to the first shrub and do the spraying again. It is like prewetting you car to loosen the dirt before you wash with a cloth. Usually the second application will do the trick! After the soapy water has cleaned the leaves, take the attachment off and freely run clean water over the plants to wash off any excess soap. Rinse off the grass or any nearby plants around the treated area.
    I have had some customers try to use a powerwasher on their plants to remove this mold, so I would not even advise it: I wouldn't have mentioned it but I know that some people are thinking it anyway!!! Don't do it!! Don't use bleach either!!!
    I wouldn't mention these thing on this panel but I have seen people do it only to destroy their plants.

    Mold is part of moisture, shade, pollutants, and dust collections.!
  5. Think Green

    Think Green LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,746

    I don't like to double post but my pinkie finger hit the enter button!!!!!!!!!! Sorry!
    To really answer you question, yes it is a fungus. To go further look for aphids on the holly or privet. Our Southern weather patterns have been crazy---warm weather, cool weather, then warm again. Seasonal patterns will erupt odd insect patterns. Aphids, scale, and other leaf invading insects cause sappage and will cause this sticky mess on the leaf surface. The sooty mold grows fungus and can damage the plants if left unattended in the central areas of the plant as light cannot penetrate the leaf surface. Some plants yellow out and have leaf drop. There are other factors and indicators of leaf damage or sooty mold problems. If you suspect this is insect damage, then the other thing to do is use Safer's Soap or Insecticidal Soaps to clean the plant surfaces.
    Read the label before you purchase the products and dawn is cheaper and will perform the same process.
  6. mdlwn1

    mdlwn1 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,443

    Scale is massive this year.....ANY scale secretions will lead to mildew...not just cottony scale.
  7. mowyo

    mowyo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 84

    thanks for the replys.did some more checking and it does look like sooty mold.no overhead trees,so any bugs have to be on the shrubs.they may be gone as we've had a few cold nites.i'm going to check next week for bug damage, although a sharp-eyed landscape guy should have spotted this when he trimmed them....
  8. Kevin M.

    Kevin M. LawnSite Member
    Messages: 137

    This is classic symptoms of scale on the hollies and sounds like could be white flies on the privet. The sooty mold is caused by the excretions of both insects and both are also dormant right now since it is too cold for them to be active. If you have a spray license you can spray these insects right now with dormant oil. I have sprayed for scale and white flies numerous, numerous times and have had great success with it.
  9. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Messages: 2,253

    I have a property that has some of the same type of sooty mold on Carolina Jasmins in semi-sun and under an overhanging Live Oak tree. I have a photo, but have to work out how to get it from the phone to the computer. So never seen the mnold before and after using the Dawn Dishwashing Detergent and spraying down with water, I'm wondering if the ground should not be treated with Heritage or another type of fungicide. Any suggestions?
  10. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,003

    Check under the leaves of the Jasmines. What you might find there are scale insects, whitefly or mealybug. The other possibility are those same pests in the tree above the plants. At this time of the year, it is ok to apply 1-2% horticultural oil at high pressure to the affected plants. Another approach that works well and is probably a good idea if the trees are too tall to spray is a soil injection with Merit. This also works on shrubs.

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