What is going on with my leaves?

Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, VirginiaJuly 18, 2011

Hello Everyone,

I have been noticing some spotting on somme leaves the last few days..

Here are some pictures of what the leaves look like.

I used the Bayer 3 & 1 Sprayer on them last night....then this afternoon some of the leaves look like this!!!

I think that the sun made it even worse after i sprayed, but i feel like it might be spider mites. So, i had to spray and now they look terrible. SOme look like this..but then others look great!!

What do you all think? What can this be?

Here are the pics of the leaves after i sprayed...

I'm open to all suggestions!!

Please advise..

Thanks everyone!!!

Laura in VB

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Laura, I've got lots of leaves with mysterious holes, tears and spots. Most of the ones I have that look like your bottom photos are lower leaves that are just at the end of their life cycle so I just pull them gently and they often come off easily. Can't tell what your top pictures are being attacked by, though. I did hear recently that for things like spider mites and whitefly to spray insecticidal soap after the sun goes down, then blast the leaves clean the next morning. Maybe that's the ideal time to catch them, as they become active.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 10:47PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Thank Jen.

I do check in the evening and at night to see what it might be.

But i did spray late last night and this is what happened to the leaves this morning...it seems that the sun probably played a part in the major change this afternoon duu to the heat and the full sun...

I know what you mean about normal leaf drop, but this is different then i have ever had before. I know that i could cut them and they will be replaced soon, but i just hate to see the strain that they are going through...

I hope they recover soon...

Thanks for the advise...

Lura in VB

    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 11:59PM
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This is just a guess, but it looks like whitefly damage to me. The black spots could be the "sooty mold" that grows in the honeydew that they secrete (cringe!).

Many of my plants' leaves have very similar scars. It's sad. My theory on the holes/tears is this: the little buggers suck the juice and nutrients from the leaf, causing the leaf tissue to shrink, which means that the parts of the leaf where they've fed become thinner. Then, we spray soap or oil or insecticide or Spray-n-Gro on these weakened leaves, but without enough water in the tissue, the leaves can't properly absorb the stuff we apply to them. So most of it sits there on the leaf, then the sun comes out, and it's 100 degrees, and the residue of those things burn the leaves. I think that the holes and tears are where the insect damage was worst, or where excess spray gathered.

Can't say for sure, just one possibility. Good luck--at least you have beautiful blooms too!


    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 1:29AM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Here are a couple of more pics that i took this am.

It seems to start like this...

Greg, i think you may be on to something. What do u use to spray? I cant spray anything again for a bout 10 days, and im afraid that the spray is doing both good and bad at the same time : (

I am using Bayer 3 & 1 spray.

Thanks guys for all of ur thoughts!!!

this is what the leaf looke like on top....

then from the underside....

Take care everyone...

Laura in VB

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 10:30AM
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Andrew Scott

HI Laura,
I don't know if that is sooty mold but if it is...TREAT IT RIGHT AWAY!!!! THAT STUFF KILLED A BUNCH OF MY TROPICAL FRUIT TREES THIS PAST WINTER!! I didn't know what sooty mold was until it was too late.

My leaves don't look like that. They have yellow tiny dots(about the samne size as your spot) all over the very center of the leaves. I think it is spider mites though.


    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 5:41PM
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spray at night...and use a drop of dawn dish detergent per spray bottle with water(distilled is best)...spray all the leaves with it...they will love you for it! anything natural is the best remedy

see my website at plumeriahut.com

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 6:20PM
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the timing of your post was kind of eerie, because just today I noticed that quite a few of my plants were getting those flecked yellow leaves. Now after reading Andrew's comment too, I'm getting a bit freaked out...I still think the white fluffy stuff on the underside of your leaves could very well be whitefly...South Florida has been in the grip of an non-native whitefly scourge, and I have had them all over my plants for months--soooo frustrating.

That said, when I saw all of the yellow leaves today, I started examining the plants carefully, and began to notice, in addition to the whitefly b.s. that I've had for an eternity, tiny, tiny black specks all over the ones that weren't looking good...some of those specks moved, some didn't...

Identifying garden pests can actually be pretty difficult at times for us lay people, don't you think? I'm still not sure, as my plants look worse by the day...anyway, after looking around on the Internet, I'm concluding that it's some kind of thrips...which is scary because they do carry viruses. It's also hard to know what to do about it, which is even scarier. Apparently some thrips are predatory and prey on the OTHER thrips that eat your plants, as well as the spider mites...argh!

In answer to your question about what I spray: I use neem oil once a week, Spray n Grow once a week. I've always tried to stay away from insecticides, but the whitefly has been so bad that I resorted to Ortho Flower and Vegetable, which contains acetamiprid--according to the Miami-Dade County website, this chemical has less harmful effect on the beneficial insects in the garden. (Bill from this forum suggested I use worm castings to get rid of the whitefly, which I did do, but I'm not sure how well that's been working.)

Anyway, if you search the web for thrips, you can take a look and see for yourself...please update me and let me know what you decide on as a course of action!!! I'm a little worried!


    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 9:20PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hi Everyone,

MY leaves are yellowing faster than normal on some trees...i have seen that the damage from the Bayer 3-1 from the sun has done this..i even sprayed at night...ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!

Greg..im getting nervous too!


I like the idea of making my own Insecticidal Soap..tthank u for your reccipe!!

How oftenn do you spray your trees?


If this is "sooty mold" what did u use?

Thanks again everyone...

I hope this wont have any effect on the inflos.... I'll really be bummed : (

Take care..

Laura in VB

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 10:03PM
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Hi Laura,

Just to clarify, from everything that I've read over the past few months, sooty mold grows in the "honeydew" that feeding insect pests like whitefly leave behind. It's ugly as heck but, apparently, it won't harm or kill your plants unless it accumulates so thickly that it would essentially "choke" the plant. I'm still learning, but I think that this is one of the reasons that it is a good idea to use a soap like Plumeriahut suggested--it rinses off the honeydew.

Personally, I'm more worried about the stress that these evil little feeders place on our plants. Some of my new plants have only a few leaves and do NOT look happy right now...also, viruses?!?! Yikes!


    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 10:16PM
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Andrew Scott

Hi Laura,
I used pure rubbing alcohol as it kills spider mites on contact! I did the same for sooty mold but I am now going to try the dish soap.

My Carrie mango is COVERED in this mold....even now that it is outdoors. For some reason I thought it would do better but I guess not.

Man, I have a fert schedule, my watering schedule, spray and grow foliar shedule and now this! I hope I can get some killer growth or SOME inflos for paying attenttion to all the details!


    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 10:36PM
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Andrew Scott

Hi Laura,
Greg is absolutely 100% right on the honey dew and how it occurs. IMO the honeydew is the worst it can get. It led to sooty mold and claimed the lives of my 6ft tall meyer lemon, my grafted 'Day' avocado, which would have fruited this year, my 'lancetilla mango' and I am sure there are others that I am just not remembering off hand.

I am still battling the sooty mold on my 'Carrie' mango tree. IF I don't get it off the tree, it will alos become a victim of this terrible condition.

Thanks to plumeriahut, I have some new found hope!! I just have to remember to keep spraying at night time. I can all ready see that it is working on my 'Carrie' mango.

I feel so stupid because I couldn't figure out why my 'Frosty Pink', Angel Trumpet's leaves were yellowing. Well now I know why!

I will let you know how well this soap water treatment works. I do know that it will be much easier to wipe out the damn spider mites with the majority of my tropicals outdoors.

Take care,

P.S. Cannot wait for my package to arrive!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 9:02AM
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Hi Andrew and Laura,

Just a quick update on my plants and what I've learned from this experience--

The leaves with the yellow flecking and brown spots have all dropped, which means that several of my first-year plants were down to 1 or 2 green(ish) leaves! That's why I freaked out a lil' bit.

Those leaves were a victim of the feeding of both thrips (confirmed by my new hand lens) and whiteflies, along with the burning that the insecticide caused when its residue sat on those leaves in the hot sun.

For several days now, I've been spraying the remaining leaves and tips with a strong stream of water, mixed with a bit of dish soap, a dash of rubbing alcohol, and a dash of white vinegar. I think it's totally working--the new leaves look very healthy. And last night, I applied my weekly neem oil spray.

The lesson that I learned is that in most cases, insecticide will be too heavy a hand-- instead, I should just get whatever is eating the leaves off the plant--as much as is possible, at least--and all will likely be well.
Hope your plants are doing all right!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 6:35AM
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