Why does my Crape Myrtle tree have black mold on the leaves?

One of the most common plants in Gainesville landscapes are the Crape Myrtle tree or dwarf shrub, known for their beautiful summer colors. Their pink, white, red, and purple flowers brighten north Florida landscapes throughout the late spring, summer, and early fall. However, they are also known for getting a black sooty mold covering the leaves that may leave you wondering, "why does my crape myrtle have mold?"

The black covering isn't a mold, fungus, or disease  - it's actualy the symptom of a Gainesville landscape pest-  the crape myrtle aphid.

To control these Gainesville lawn pests (Crape Myrtle Aphids), we recommend one of three ways. However none of these will remove the sooty mold - just the pest causing the sooty mold. The black discoloration will go away as it drops it's leaves and regenerates growth in the spring.

1 - If it's late enough in fall and the...

Quick Tip: If a Tree falls in your Gainesville yard, who's responsible for it?

Many people have trees in their yard, especially in Gainesville, Florida - the tree capitol of North Florida. Trees provide shade and complement landscaping nicely, but they can also cause major disputes when they fall over. A tree may fall over if it is not properly maintained and diseased, or it may fall over during a storm (like Hurricane Irma that just passed last week). When a tree falls over onto a neighbor's property, a homeowner is often left to wonder if he or she is liable. Most people assume that the person who's yard the tree was rooted in is liable since it is their tree. However, this is not always the case.

When a tree falls over onto a neighbor's property, that neighbor should submit a claim to his or her insurance company immediately. The insurance company is usually responsible for taking care of the damages. This is true if the tree fell over due to an act of nature. For example, a healthy tree that falls over during a tornado,...

Are you fighting Scale on your Sago Palms?

The Asian cycad scale, Aulacaspis yasumatsui, is an armored scale native to Thailand and southern China. Since it was found in Miami in 1996, it has spread quickly through Florida and other parts of the world on shipments of nursery stock. Asian cycad scales produce a white crust on the fronds of infested plants, making them appear as though they are snow covered. At its worst, an infestation of Asian cycad scale can completely coat a sago palm within months and cause its death within one year.

Are you fighting Aphids in your Gainesville Ornamentals?

Aphids are one of the most common insects found on trees and shrubs. There are over 400 species of that feed on numerous hosts. Aphids use their piercing sucking mouthparts to extract sap from the tender, new growth of plants. Aphids excrete a sticky substance called honeydew (a nice name for aphid poo) that can be a nuisance as it creates black sooty mold; it gets all over plant leaves, sidewalks, vehicles, and other structures.

Are you fighting scale on your Magnolias?

As its common name suggests, Magnolia scale, Neolecanium cornuparvum, is a frequent pest of magnolia trees and other Ornamentals- including Little Gem Magnolias, Tiny Bear Magnolias, and even the Cucumber Tree. These large, easily seen insects cause damage to trees by attaching themselves to the tree’s vascular system and feeding on the sap. They can kill entire branches and weaken the tree as they deprive the tree of it's nutrients. Branches are often black with mold that grows on the insects’ excrement, which is known as 'honeydew' or 'black sooty mold'. This sticky substance attracts dust and dirt from the air, often covering it's own leaves and leaves around the affectd tree with black sooty mold.

Quick Tip: Why is everyone cutting their Crape Myrtles? Should I?

Many of our clients have witnessed their neighbors and other landscape companies out pruning Crape Myrtles the past couple months and wondered if we had forgotten about them. Some have even witnessed others reducing majestic Crape Myrtles to ugly stumps, known to some as committing "Crape Murder."

When a crape myrtle is pruned back like this, it has 2 effects:

  1. Reduces the number of blooms that will be produced during summer.
  2. New branches will grow far too long and therefore not be able to support the weight of heavy blooms - particularly when wet. These long branches weep over and often break off during heavy rains.

When a crape myrtle is pruned properly, it has 2 positive affects: 

  1. It will produce twice the number of branches and therefore twice the number blooms as it did during the previous year.
  2. The
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