The black fungus is a fairly common pest on plants, although not as common as cochineal, aphid or whitefly. The black fungus or fumagina is presented as a characteristic black powder that reminds us slightly of soot. We will see it in the surface of the leaves, in the stems, as well as in different zones of the plant. It is not a dangerous fungus, far from it; the only problem it has is that it is unsightly, and at first glance, it will seem that the plant has a dirty appearance.
This fungus takes advantage of the opportunity. Some parasitic insects give off excreted molasses that will use bold to spread and develop. It is not typical of an alone plant, but that it can be produced in anyone, as long as the conditions of humidity are promising for it.
But we do not have to fear: the plant is not going to die, nor is it going to have to face essential symptoms. If the fungus completely covers the foliar surface (something complicated), then we can fear for the health of the plant. The main problem, as we have already commented, responds to an aesthetic question. Leaves that are covered with black smudge will have a shaven appearance.
Prevention techniques against the black fungus
The black fungus will appear due to the molasses excreted by some insects, such as mealybugs, aphids or whiteflies. This is why, as a prevention method, insects should be prevented from attacking plants.
We assure you that you can have a hard time confronting these plants… but as if that wasn’t enough, once you’ve finished doing it, you can get the unpleasant surprise that now it’s your turn to face the bold fungus. The sooner you eliminate it, the better.
A homemade remedy against the bold fungus is the use of potash soap. It is a non-toxic remedy, so it does not affect the plant or the environment, being the most effective solution for the treatment of any of the pests we have already mentioned. In this blog, we have seen many remedies that can be prepared with this product.
In the case of the treatment for the black fungus, we can dissolve the potash in the water at 2%. If after three applications, the pests were still present, then we will have no choice but to try other much more sophisticated insecticides.
It must be clear to us that the best method of prevention against the bold fungus is to act against the pests that make it possible.
How can we put an end to the black fungus or fumagina?
This characteristic black powder, which does not seem to be a problem, will be if it ends up covering many leaves of the plant since it will be incapable of photosynthesis. This would make the plant lose vigor; although it would not kill it directly, if the one that would predispose it to be weakened and to present essential diseases for the future, which could end its life.
It is, therefore, imperative to analyze how we are going to put an end to the fungus. However, remember that if there was a previous plague, the first thing you should do is get rid of it. Otherwise, no matter how much we kill the fungus, there may still be molasses or excretion, so the problem will continue to reproduce.
By following these simple steps, we can put an end to this problem:
- Cleanliness: The first thing we have to do is try to finish with as many molasses as possible. To do this, we resort to the most straightforward solution: Water. Wash the areas affected by the black fungus with pressurized water. What we are trying to do with this process is to wash away as much waste as possible.
- Potassium soap: We have already seen that potassium soap (or potash), can be a suitable insecticide to treat the vast majority of pests. But the truth is that its benefits do not end here. And it is also a perfect ally that will be used to clean the dirt from the plant. Apply this soap in the parts that are affected by the fungus, even up to the area of the underside of the leaves.
- Wet cloth: As long as you’re dealing with leaves of considerable size, you can use a slightly damp cloth to wipe off the remains of the fungus on the leaves. If we detected the problem in time, the bold fungus would not have had time to deepen so that it will come out quickly. If the leaves are small and delicate, with a damp cloth, we are only going to spoil them.
- Sanitation pruning: Unfortunately we cannot save all the leaves; the crust will have broken some of the fungi. We may also have to deal with leaves or deformed shoots. That’s why we’ll have to get to work to finish off the parts that shouldn’t be there. This will require pruning. We will remove the affected leaves or shoots to ensure that the plant can boast of its inherent natural beauty.
If you do not have potash soap, or, for whatever reason, you do not want to use it on plants. You can use another type of soap without any problem. However, you should make sure you have an excellent rinse only by using water. Besides, some soaps or detergents can be too aggressive for the plant, even drying the surface of the leaves.
If we are talking about a severe infestation, then we will have to go to some advanced solutions. We can use a fungicide with a copper or sulfur base to counteract the problem. These two components are adequate to fight the black fungus or fumagina, but be careful with the proportion, since a too high one could kill the plant, being worse the remedy than the disease.