people have noticed a black, sooty coating on the needles of
pine trees this fall and winter. It is especially noticeable
on white and scotch pines.
The black coating is caused
by a fungus called sooty mold. It does no harm to the needles
but is quite unsightly.
real problem was an insect infestation last summer. Sooty mold
is associated with large populations of sucking insects such
mealybugs. As these insects feed on the
sap of plants, their sugary droppings land on needles or
leaves below. Sooty mold grows on the droppings.
To avoid sooty mold, control
the insects. They cause the true problem.