Crape Myrtles turn black in late summer
"I have 3 crape myrtles planted on the north side of my home and they get mostly full sun and are 3 years old this fall. The last 2 summers they have had sap dropping from them like a like mist of rain. They bloom beautifully then in late summer they stop blooming and the leaves and buds turn black. I have no idea what is wrong with them and need some advice; hopefully you guys can help me. thanks, Elaine Curtis"
Submitted by BHGPhotoContest

"Elaine, the black coating is sooty mold. It doesn't directly harm the plant -- rather, it is living on what's called honeydew, which is a sugary excretion of aphids that are feeding on your crape myrtle. It's what you thought was sap, which is an understandable mistake.

The key to getting rid of the problem, then, is to control the aphids. Find a reputable garden center in your area and tell them that you need to control crape myrtle aphids and they should be able to recommend a suitable control. The spray needs to be very thorough, covering all parts of the plant. A couple of sprays, a week or so apart should do the trick.  "

Answered by BHGgardenEditors