Honing in on Honeysuckle Woes

Question: “I have an old honeysuckle vine that seems to get a fungus/insects every year. As it is by itself, I don’t think it’s lacking air circulation. I’m about ready to tear it down, but my affinity for hummers says NO! Any suggestions?”

 —JD
Zone 5, question from the Gardener’s Forum

Answer: Honeysuckles (Lonicera) are especially prone to the fungal infection known as mildew because they are often planted in unsuitable hot, sunny sites. Dry roots and a still atmosphere are triggers for the disease. There are two kinds of mildew: downy and powdery. Both appear as a white powdery coating on the leaves. With downy mildew this is on the underside; with powdery mildew it is on the upper surface.

Treatment involves spraying with a systemic fungicide; although this will not cure the existing problem, it will prevent further infection. It is best to cut out the infected parts of the plant, or at least remove and destroy the affected foliage. Watering the ground well in dry weather helps to discourage mildew and a preventative spray with a systemic fungicide in spring and summer is useful for previously infected plants.

Strange growth, no blooms or are you wondering the best way to transplant? Just ask, and the Horticulture editorial team will take a stab at answering your ailment or query. E-mail edit@hortmag.com

Read what Kiss My Aster says on the Gardener’s Forum about battling aphids.

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