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Tree dying?

Hi all!

I wondered if anyone could recognize this tree and give thoughts on if it's dying?

Some of the leaves have started to turn black and others have darkened and have white bumps on them. It's also hard to see in the picture, but there is a constant swarm of either wasps or bees around it all times.

Would love to know what might be causing it too? If it's not the wasps, I'm inclined to start to spray since we are selling our house and some wasp stings will not help with the value!

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Thanks!
CJ

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Tree dying?

I'm mainly bumping your post so more people will see it.

Your pictures don't enlarge, clicking on them just takes me to an image shack page of links, so it is difficult to see much detail.

Failing an answer here, you might just bag up some leaves showing the disease and take them to your local University botany/ag dept, agricultural extension services, or a knowledgeable local garden store (NOT big box!).

One thing that occurs to me is about the bees and wasps. They are not usually attracted to a tree that isn't flowering or dropping fruit. But several insects that suck plant juices (e.g. aphids, mealybugs, scale insects) excrete the excess sugars they take in, in the form of a sweet sticky substance called honeydew. The honeydew is attractive to the bees and wasps. I would check your tree carefully including stems and undersides of leaves for bugs like this (scale insects don't move and just look like little bumps). If you have an infestation of insects like this, it could be responsible for some of the other problems. They can carry diseases and/or the honeydew can attract molds.

Let us know what you find out!
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

catgrass
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Re: Tree dying?

Apparently I didn't say "post" when I answered this (lol-I do that a lot). I was thinking black sooty mold caused when white flies suck the juices from the leaves, and leave the honeydew, which in turn makes the mold. I couldn't enlarge the pics either.
zone 9 Southwest La.

live free and garden
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Re: Tree dying?

It appears to be some sort of aphid type scenario since the mold is pretty thick on there, which appears to be creating the honeydew and attracting the wasps like you mentioned. I tried spraying the tree with water but it seems to be pretty diseased. Any thoughts? Should I let it run its course or should I use a spray of some sort? Always hesitant to use sprays / chemicals but this seems pretty bad...
CJ

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Tree dying?

The mold doesn't create the honeydew; the aphids excrete the honeydew and then the honeydew gets moldy, provides a good environment for culturing the black mold.

I would start with a soapy water spray, use a little real soap (like Dr. Brunners, not detergent) in water. For doing a tree, you probably need a hose end sprayer.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

catgrass
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Re: Tree dying?

I agree with the soapy water treatment. The tree appears not to be too big. I had a small crepe myrtle with this problem a few years ago. I just got a bucket of soapy water and a rag and washed the leaves (underside especially) best I could, then hosed off. Humid conditions and lack of air flow contribute to the problem, so if you are so inclined, you can trim some of the inner branches. Do you know what kind of tree/shrub it is? Hard to tell from the pic.
zone 9 Southwest La.

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