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Citrus Sooty Mold

Sooty Mould a fungal bi-product of the honeydew excreted by sap sucking insects like aphids and mealybugs. It will weaken your fruit salad tree if your tree is already stressed.

Plant Part: Leaves and branches.

Season: Spring - Summer

Symptom: Black soot like substance found on the leaves and branches.

Control: By removing the sap sucking insect, the sooty mold will eventually dry and flake off. See Aphids and and Mealybugs in this pest and disease guide for details.

Symptom: Ants in your plants - Ants attracted to the honeydew excreted by aphids, scale and mealybugs or if you have left your fruit on the tree too long and it is over-ripe.

Control: Generally, removal of the honeydew producing pest will do the trick with a dose of soapy water. If the infestation is quite bad then consider ‘tree-trunk banding as easy method to stop ants in their tracks. (see your local nursery). 

Prevention: Keeping your orchard clean and free of weeds and encouraging beneficial pollinators and insects like bees, parasitic wasps, ladybirds and hoverflies to your garden will keep these pests at bay. Companion planting a few tansy herbs nearby will also deter the ants.

References: Sustainable Gardening Australia, NSW Department of Primary Industries and the FST team.

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