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Q.sooty mold on holly

Zone Newark De. | Anonymous added on April 16, 2016 | Answered

This is the second season in a row that my Holly bush has Black Sooty Mold. I didn’t know what it was last year. Almost the entire bush (approx. 5-6 feet tall) is covered with the black mold. Should I take them out of my flower bed? I’m worried that it will or has spread to my plants. What should I do? Please help!!

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Answered on April 18, 2016

If you do have sooty mold it will not be necessary for you to remove your shrubs at all. Sooty mold is not usually fatal to shrubs. You will need to get rid of the cause of the problem: certain insect pests. Sooty mold is a fungus that is exacerbated by the presence of aphids, mites, scale, and mealybugs. Get some insecticidal soap or horticultural oil (such as neem oil) and pick a rain-free day to thoroughly spray your shrubs. Make sure that you especially spray the undersides of the leaves. When you get rid of those insect pests, the black sooty mold will decline as some of it gets washed away by the insecticidal soap (or horticultural oil) and, after a few days, the rain.

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