Have you ever noticed a black, sooty mold growing on your plants? It’s unsightly, and if you ignore it, it can cause damage to your plants.
Fortunately, there are a few natural ways to get rid of it. In this post, we’ll share some home remedies and environmentally-friendly methods to deal with the problem.
What Is Sooty Mold?
You’ve probably seen black patches on the leaves of your plants, and if you’re like most gardeners, you’re not sure what it is. Well, that’s likely sooty mold, and it can be a real problem.
It erupts because of a fungus that grows when there’s a build-up of honeydew on the leaves and stems of plants .
The sticky residue is produced by insects such as aphids, mealybugs, and whiteflies. As the insects feed, they leave honeydew on the plants which encourages the growth of mold.
The mold doesn’t usually kill the plants, but it can make them look unattractive. It can also block sunlight from reaching the leaves, which can stunt their growth .
Plants affected by sooty mold include rhododendrons, magnolia trees, gardenias, holly, crepe myrtles, and citrus trees.
How to Get Rid of Sooty Mold Naturally
If you have an infestation of aphids, you’re likely going to have sooty mold as well.
The good news is that there are natural ways to go about remedying the issue. Below we’ll look at how to treat sooty mold organically.
1. Crop Rotation
One thing you can do to avoid sooty mold is to rotate your crops. This is an effective means of managing certain plant diseases.
2. Repellent Plants
You can also try repellent plants. These are plants that work at repelling the insects that produce the honeydew sooty mold needs to thrive.
Some good options include marigold, lavender, nasturtium, mint, basil, and thyme. Plant them around plants that are prone to getting affected by sooty mold.
3. Destroy Problem Pests
The most obvious solution for this black fungus on plants is to do away with the insects that are causing it.
Aphids, whiteflies, scales, and leafhoppers are some of the most common pests that lead to sooty mold. If you can identify the culprit, then you can take steps to get rid of it.
4. Horticultural Oil
Another sooty mold treatment is horticultural oil. This is a type of oil that can be used to control soft-bodied insects and some plant diseases, and it’s safe to use on edibles.
Horticultural oils work by trapping the fungal spores and also controlling the vector insects. It’s a great choice for organic gardeners.
5. Hose Plants
One simple home remedy to help get rid of black mold on plants is to hose the plants down.
Do this a day or two after you’ve applied treatment. The water will help wash away any remaining mold left on the leaves.
6. Neem Oil
Neem oil is a great choice for getting rid of sooty mold organically. It works great to eradicate both the fungus and the pests that cause it.
To use neem oil for sooty mold, mix 2 tablespoons of the oil with a tablespoon of liquid soap in a gallon of water. Next, add to a spray bottle and spray it on the affected plants.
Make sure to get all affected areas, and repeat the process every 7 to 14 days until the sooty mold goes away.
7. Trim Off Affected Foliage
The next thing you should do is trim off any damaged foliage. This includes leaves and stems.
By doing this, you’re removing the infected areas, preventing the infection from spreading to other parts of the plant.
Also, be sure to discard any trimmed foliage properly so that the mold doesn’t spread to other parts of your garden.
8. Soap and Water
Mix a little soap with some water (1 teaspoon to a gallon of water).
Next, soak a piece of sponge or soft cloth in the solution. Use it to wipe down and clean sooty mold off leaves and other areas that the mold is on.
The soap will loosen up the mold and wiping will clear it away.
Vinegar is highly effective in killing mold and controlling fungus.
To make a homemade spray for sooty mould, dilute two tablespoons of white vinegar in a gallon of water and spray it onto the leaves of the plant.
The vinegar will kill the fungus and help to restore the plant’s appearance. Repeat every few days until the mold disappears.
The great thing about this product is that it can be used on a broad range of crops. Mix and apply according to instructions that come with your purchase.
PerCarb is a broad-spectrum fungicide/bactericide that includes ingredients that oxidize the plant pathogen on contact.
It is effective against a wide range of fungal and bacterial diseases. It’s also safe for use on edible plants, and it won’t harm the environment or your pets.
Just be sure to follow the directions on the label and test a small area first to make sure there’s no adverse reaction.
12. OxiDate 2.0
This is another broad-spectrum sooty mold fungicide. It’s a contact fungicide, which means it kills the fungus on contact.
And the great thing about OxiDate 2.0 is that it’s environmentally friendly, so you don’t have to worry about any harmful chemicals entering your soil or water supply.
Another thing you’ll love about OxiDate 2.0 is that you can also use it on a variety of crops. Plus, it fights against many other plant problems such as anthracnose, powdery mildew, and bacterial spot.
Just mix it with water according to the directions that come with your order, and then spray it on your plants.
If you have a lot of plants that are infected with sooty mold, then you may want to consider spraying your entire garden with a natural insecticide. This will kill all the insects behind the problem and will do away with this fungal disease for good.
Otherwise, use one of the home remedies or natural treatments above for small problems.