Are your crape myrtles and shrubs covered in a black looking mold?  If so, here are a few answers to break down whats going on.  As most people know by now scale is a a very serious problem in our area.  Scales are a bug that feed on the leaves and limbs of your plants.  They are usually the white looking part you will see.  What most people dont realize is that the black sooty mold on all the plants under the trees are a result of the scale as well.  As they feed on the trees the put off a by product called honeydew.  This is usually the sticky and shinny stuff you will see on other plants, walls, patios or anything else under or around the trees.  They black stuff is called sooty mold and it grows as a result of the honey dew.  While the mold and honey dew themselves wont kill the plants they block the plants from being able to absorb light which will affect its growth.  They best way to fix all of these issues is to get the scale under control.  Removing they from the equation will fix everything else.  Once the scale are under control all the pants can be sprayed off with water and a little time to get things back to normal.  The technical name for the scale is Armored Scale.  As they mature they form a hard shell on the outside that can be difficult to get chemicals to.  The best time to treat for them is in the early spring with the new generation of bugs are young and have not developed the armor yet.  So noteworthy facts are that generally speaking scale is very hard to kill and control but can not be ignored.  Also they way they spread, if you treat yours and the neighbors do not there is not guarantee it will no spread.  There are several different chemicals that have better than average control results.  If you need help deciding what to use call our office and we would be glad to make suggestions.