Sooty Mildew: The fungus’ darkened mycelium gives plants the appearance of being covered with soot, this fungus does not infect the plant but in fact grows on the outer surface where another problem may occur such as honeydew (a thick sticky layer of liquid left by sucking insects after feeding on sap from plants). Sooty Mildew does not infect the plant but it can inhibit the plants absorption of light. Without sunlight the plants ability to produce food for itself is reduced, possibly killing or slowing down the plants growth. For fruits, vegetables and other edible plants simply hose down the infected areas with soap and warm water. If, in fact, you do have sooty mold then the presence of sucking insects in your landscape is a good sign. Controlling sooty mold starts with the control of any insect population, for example, aphids are most likely the producers of honeydew so keeping the aphid population under control is step one in controlling sooty mold. Sometimes just a good strong spray from the garden hose will help to remove the insects from the plants. Another way to control the insect population is with beneficial insects such as ladybugs. Ladybugs can help reduce the aphid population therefore reducing the conditions for sooty mold. Once the insects are diminished the signs of sooty mold will be greatly reduced. If these methods do not control or greatly reduce the insect population apply neem oil to help control the insects. Always follow the directions on any product that you may decide to use.