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These sucking insects can include aphids and scale insects and sooty mold may occur on any tree but is most commonly seen on boxelder, elm, linden, and especially maple trees. Many people believe that someone may have dumped ashes or may have even caught the plant on fire when they first see this plant mold. Click for a hub of Extension resources related to the current COVID-19 situation. Department of Plant Pathology & Microbiology. Also, a good washing of infested tree's foliage (if possible) can dilute the honeydew and wash off the mold. The pathogens are dark fungi growing either on the "honeydew" excreted by sucking insects or on exuded sap material coming from leaves of certain trees. The fungi causing sooty mold are known to occur on citrus, oleander, gardenia, fig, crapemyrtle, azaleas, pittosporum and many other ornamental bushes and trees. Sooty Mold (fungi – Capnodium spp., Fumago spp., and others): Sooty mold is a name commonly given to a condition that is not truly a disease, but a black coating on leaves, branches and fruit made up of fungal growth. Honeydew is a sugary, sticky liquid secreted by sucking, piercing insects as they feed on plant sap. The Sooty Moulds arrive as a secondary infestation which feeds on the honeydew defecated by insects. Ascomycete fungi, which includes many genera, commonly Cladosporium and Alternaria are usually the offending fungal organisms. The fungi associated with this condition are saprophytic, that is, they do not feed on live plant tissue, but rather thrive on insect secretions with a high content of sugars. If no insects are present to cause a re-infestation, rains will usually wash off most of the sooty mold. Sooty mold appropriately and exactly describes the disease, as it looks just like chimney soot. Use the appropriate recommended chemicals that control aphids and other sucking insects. A black velvety coating made up of the fungal strands is formed on the surface of leaves, twigs and fruit. It's a real problem on everything beneath and around the tree that is exposed to the syrup and then colonized by sooty mold. Your plant’s twigs, branches or leaves will be covered in a grimy, black soot. Plants become blackened and are usually sticky. This alone may be all that is needed. HOME : SITEMAP : SEARCH : ARTICLES : SOOTY MOULD . The honeydew can rain down on neighboring and understory plants. Although unsightly, it seldom damages the tree but it can look nasty in the landscape. The black residue of sooty mold is composed of dark fungal threads of a number of ascomycetes, including species of Alternaria, Capnodium, Cladosporium, Fumago, … Sooty mould growth is most prevalent where air circulation is poor and humidity high, providing periods of extended wetness (although heavy rain may sometimes wash the growth from the leaf surface). Sooty mold is commonly seen on the leaves of ornamental plants such as azaleas, gardenias, camellias, crepe myrtles, Mangifera and laurels. These secretions, known as honeydew, are particularly common with aphids, scales, white flies, and other insects. If for some reason the insect infestation decreases, the amount of sooty mold also will decrease. Sooty mold appropriately and exactly describes the disease, as it looks just like chimney soot. By using ThoughtCo, you accept our, Common Hardwood Tree Diseases - Prevention and Control, Identifying the Yellow Poplar Tree in North America, Hemlock Wooly Adelgid - Identification and Control, Prevention and Control of Common Conifer Tree Diseases, 22 Common Insects Pests That Are Harmful to Trees, Needle Cast Tree Disease: Prevention and Control, How to Treat Gummosis, or Bleeding in Tree Bark, Leaf Spot Tree Disease: Prevention and Control, An Introduction to the Kwanzan Cherry Tree, B.S., Forest Resource Management, University of Georgia. Sooty mold looks a lot like the name implies. Sooty mold, also called blotch or black mold, plant disease characterized by splotchy black stains or coatings on leaves, stems, and fruit. These soft-bodied insects produce the "honeydew" as a liquid waste product via the gut but will not harm your tree. Control can be obtained by applying insecticides that reduce insect populations. He is a member of the Society of American Foresters. 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