Sooty Mold

Pest: Sooty Mold (includes several species)

Pest Type: Infectious disease, fungi

Major Identifying Features: Sooty mold fungi grow on honeydew secretions on plant parts and other surfaces,  the fungi looks dark and its threadlike growth gives infected plants the appearance of soot

Life Cycle: Sooty mold fungi don’t infect plant tissue directly, but grow on surfaces where honeydew accumulates (a sweet, sticky sap excreted by plant-sucking insects)

Pest Rating: Moderate

Management Rating: Easy to moderate

Host/Season/Outbreak Information: The species of sooty mold present are determined by a combination of the environment, host, and insect species present, honeydew producing insects include aphids, leafhoppers, mealybugs, psyllids, soft scales, whiteflies

Damage Information: Sooty mold doesn’t affect the plant directly, but can reduce sunlight absorption by covering the surfaces of leaves, this can stunt plant growth and premature leaf drop, fruits and vegetables covered in sooty mold are still edible

Management Options: Most plants tolerate some sucking insects and sooty mold, cultural control by removing sucking insects, ants, and infected areas of the plant

Sources:

http://www.ipm.ucanr.edu

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