Leaves turning black

ellusionzAugust 6, 2012

I just purchased a Prunus campanulata (Taiwan Cherry Blossom Tree) last month and it looks like the leaves are turning black. Some leaves were kind of yellow and brown spotted when I bought it but they said it was because the trees were getting too much sun. The leaves stopped being as yellow but now the top half of this baby trees leaves look like they were halfway eaten (spotty holes/missing half the leaves) and the bottom is fuller leaves but turning blacker like you see in the pic.

Is there something I can do to fix this? Was I mistaken in purchase this tree? I don't know plants well so I took the word of the sales people at Lakos, they're really great and informative. But I plan to buy two more of these and don't want to get bad trees (they're expensive!). Thanks for your advice.

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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Looks like sooty mold.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 10:32AM
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ellusionz

Thanks! I brought in some pics and leaf samples to Lowes and they recommended some stuff to kill off the nasties causing it. If it doesn't rain tonight I'll spray it then.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 3:52PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Assuming they told you aphids are the culprit. But did they tell you that the stuff you spray that kills the aphids will also kill any of the beneficial bugs who's role is to rid plants of these pests? And that it will likely kill any butterfly caterpillars that might get sprayed? My Gardenia gets this on it sometimes and I've never sprayed anything. What I did do was to rinse (with "jet" setting on spray nozzle) the mold and aphids off the plant a few times within a week, added a little new mulch, prune some of the extraneous growth at the bottom and in the middle for better air circulation, and gave it a weak dose of fertilizer. The improvement was vast and rapid. A healthy plant is less likely to suffer markedly from pest attacks. Aphids and mold are also seasonal. Unless you think your plant is in mortal danger from the combination of aphids and mold, which is possible but not likely, it will go away on its' own, even if you don't spray or rinse anything. From what I've read (and seen,) the mold doesn't do any harm to the plants except to block the light they need for photosynthesis and can be washed off of some leaves with water.

Obviously you'd rather spray some stuff rather than lose an expensive tree, not any disagreement on that. Can you show a pic of the whole thing? If you decide spraying is necessary, or would like to try blasting them off with the hose first, know that the aphids are on the bottom of the leaves, and clustered around the growth tips.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 5:47PM
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ellusionz

Well they didn't exactly tell me that but I figured that would happen. I had to go back a second time for other stuff and spoke with them in more detail. For preventative they recommend some cedar powder stuff that says it doesn't harm the good bugs. The plants are newly established so aren't really attracting anything yet. The couple flowering things that are, don't have anything wrong with them. He said I only needed to spray the ones being messed with and check in two weeks to see how they're doing. And they're far enough (plumeria in the backyard & cherry tree in the far front) from the other plants I don't think it'd spread to contaminate those others. Thanks again for your advice! Good to see people taking the time for others :)

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 6:38PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Ellusionz, you've been able to locate and identify the aphids or whatever might be creating the sooty mold? Is there any way you can show us those woody twigs and stems? I see some little white things that intrigue me. This black stuff DOES rub off with some water, right?

Would you mind sharing what the 'cedar powder stuff ' is? What is it supposed to repel?!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 7:38AM
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ellusionz

The stuff is called Green Light Yardsafe, insect repellent granuales. It's supposed to repel ants, slugs, snails, fleas, roaches, termites,beetles, crickets, chiggers, chinch bugs, fleas, flies, gnats, scorpions and numerous other pests. Will have no effect on beneficial insects including bees, butterflies and ladybugs. I hate most bugs so it's a good idea to me :) Also says its organic but most things do these days and safe for around children and pets. And atleast its not the annoying mulch stuff that took me all day to get rid of.

He didn't say what it was specifically, cause I was only able to find the eggs. They were webbed under the leaf, clearish/white colored eggs. I already sprayed the tree, but I'll also try to include the other closer up pics I had taken incase that helps you. And I haven't tried rubbing the leaves yet, waiting for the stuff starts working and kills off the nasties.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pics of all the plants at my house.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 11:35AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

You know, I was going to ask you if you had plans to apply mulch, lol. Most people think of it as being highly beneficial, not annoying. :-)

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 12:16PM
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ellusionz

Well after having to do weeding at work I decided to hate whoever came up with the idea. heh

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 2:21PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Sounds like there's more mulch needed at work (to help control the weeds.) What's going on?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 9:39AM
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