Because of its appealing shape, unique design, and colorful blooms, the crepe myrtle is a favorite tree for many homeowners and landscapers. If planted and pruned properly, this tree will grow quickly, adding texture, shade, and color to your landscape design. However, some crepe myrtles develop diseases that can quickly harm the look and health of the tree. Sooty mold is a common problem that many crepe myrtles face. This guide will give you some information on diagnosing and treating a crepe myrtle with sooty mold.
Signs and Causes
Like the name suggests, sooty mold causes a black, powdery residue on the trunk, branches, and foliage of the tree. It is a fungal growth, but the cause of this infection is actually due to pests.
Aphids, mealybugs, and other insects may infest your crepe myrtle, feeding on the sap of the tree. Over time, the pests secrete a sweet, sticky residue, known as honeydew, on the tree. This residue increases the risk of fungal growth, which causes sooty mold to develop.
Without treatment, sooty mold can lead to a variety of issues. The black residue will obviously decrease the appeal of your tree. In addition, the fungus will spread throughout the tree, making it even more attractive. However, sooty mold can reduce the structural integrity of the tree, preventing it from growing and blooming properly.
Treating the underlying cause of your sooty mold is key to saving your crepe myrtle. As stated earlier, the fungal growth is caused by insects that infest the tree, leaving honeydew behind. Therefore, you need to protect your tree from these pests.
Apply an insecticide that is specifically designed for use on trees to the entire tree, including the trunk, foliage, and blooms. Liquid or powder insecticides are both effective. You should notice insects leaving the tree immediately once you apply the insecticide.
Once you rid the tree of pests, consider washing off the sooty mold using a simple, yet effective, solution.
In an outdoor sprayer, combine 1 gallon of water with four ounces of liquid dish soap. Shake the container to mix the ingredients together before spraying the affected areas with the soapy solution. After a few minutes, rinse your crepe myrtle with your garden hose. This will remove any leftover soap from the tree.
Crepe myrtles are beautiful trees for your landscape design, but proper care is important to keep them healthy. This guide will help you diagnose and treat sooty mold on your crepe myrtle or other trees.
For more help, talk to a company like Complete Tree Care.