Fungus/parasites? Black eyed Susan\'s and evergreen bushes

Manheim, PA

It all started this summer, after I added new black mulch. My black eyed Susan's, 2 years old, suddenly started growing like a purple grey color growth (leaves), eventually the whole plant looked unhealthy and most of it was removed, but the left over leaves have the purple growth on them. Not sure what to do our what exactly it is.

Issue 2, I just noticed this fall, the interior bottom leaves of my bushes are turning yellow. Again 2.5 years old and big and until now, healthy. Please help!! What should I buy???

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Hi Sweety-
My black eyed susans always look somewhat ratty this time of year, various leaf ailments occurring. I just ignore it as it is autumn, and the next year they spring up again just fine. On my plants, from a distance they still are putting on a bit of a show, as some flowers are still bright. I see you are in Zone 6, have likely already had a frost, which damages plants and makes them susceptible to illness. Some of the leaves do turn yellow as the plant is going dormant in autumn.
Do not put down fertilizer as a remedy. Fertilizing late in the year can trick the plants into spring growth, then they are killed when it gets cold.

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