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LEARNING CENTER
 
Sooty Mold- SW Florida
 
The Pest
Spiraling Whitefly (Aleurodicus rugioperculatus) is spreading rapidly through south Florida.  It began attacking our native Gumbo Limbo and then slowly spread to other trees- primarily palms.  If left untreated, the flies will engulf a tree with their webs and black mold, leading to leaf necrosis and eventually death.
 
The Impact
We are seeing infestations on nearly all species of native and exotic palms.  The fly creates a white, cotton-like nest underneath the palms' fronds.  After a short while, the plants develop a black coating that looks like soot from a fireplace- giving it the name "sooty mold". This creates a sunblock that prevents the plant's leaves from absorbing sunlight, eventually causing leaf necrosis and in some cases, death.
 
Removal
Sooty Mold can be removed with a very mild mixture of dish washing detergent and tap water.  Fill a bucket with water and add a small dollop of liquid detergent.  Mix it around and then use a Soft Scrub pad to gently wash the plants' leaves.  The sooty mold should come right off.  Lastly, rinse your plants with a hose.
 
Treatment & Prevention
We prefer to use a systemic insecticide (right) because it does not leave an unsightly trunk scar from an injection gun or any sticky chemical residue on the fronds from a foliar spray and it works quickly-in as little as 2-3 weeks. The flies simply leave the tree or die off.  Our systemic formula treats the bloodstreem of the palm or tree without affecting its growth and makes the tree immune to whitefly infestation.  Our formula cures trees that are currently infected and also prevents future infestations on healthy trees (if treatments are kept up).  It is safe for the environment and not harmful to pets!
  
                          

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