when to treat sooty mold on hibiscus
I'm a new and inexperienced "gardener." I live in central Florida. I have a serious case of sooty mold, and maybe some other issues as well on my outdoor hibiscus plant. I didn't treat it during the warm months, and now wonder when is the earliest I can treat it. I guess I need to cut it back (1/2 of the way?) then use a fungicide. I understand that plants are cut back in the spring. Do I have to wait until then?
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
When it comes to damaging fungus, you can treat anytime. It is best to clear up the problem.
I would try treating the plant first without cutting back, but do make sure to remove any dead (brown) or dying (yellow) leaves from the plant. With a fungus like sooty mold, you actually have a pretty good chance of the plant making a full recovery without pruning and it will regrow lost leaves.
If the sooty mold problem persists, I would recommend looking to do pruning that would open up the interior of the plant rather than a wholesale "haircut" style pruning. So, you would be looking to eliminate branches that cross or are growing too close together. Fungus thrive in moist environments with little air flow. Opening up the interior of the plant will help increase airflow and decrease the chances of fungus.