One of the silent but deadly killers of trees is disease. Some take years to kill the tree, while others can destroy the tree quickly. When that happens, you have a tree on your property that can fall at any time, potentially damaging a structure on your property. So when you’re out in your yard keep an eye out for these symptoms of common tree diseases.

Bacterial Leaf Scorch – This is a result of a bacteria inside the plant’s vascular tissue, and blocks water movement from the roots. Its appearance looks like the leaves on the ends of the lower branches are starting to brown. Symptoms appear in mid to late summer and will progress each season until the crown (top) of the tree is impacted.

Drought Leaf Scorch – Very similar to bacterial leaf scorch, except the scorch appearance first appears in the upper branches and younger leaves on the tips of branches. Typically it impacts the tree in a more uniform way than Bacterial Leaf Scorch.

Powdery Mildew – It appears like white dust growing on the leaves. They grow on both sides of the leaves, stems, shoot tips, and flowers of the tree. The mildew blocks light intake (photosynthesis), and hardier plants can typically survive an infection. However, the fungi overwinter in the bud scales for infection next season.

Root Rot – This is a product of a fungus infecting the plant, and is typically due to being planted in wet soil, improper pruning, or significant damage to the roots or stem. Symptoms include poor growth, discolored wood, needle loss, and separation of the dead lower bark.

Black Knot – A black knot is caused by a fungus that forms galls on the branches of fruit trees, like plum, cherry, almond, apricot, and blackthorn. The black swelling increases the next season and will kill the branch. These branches can be managed by careful pruning.

Wood Rot – Appearance includes fleshy, yellow fungal layers (basidiocarps) emitting from the trunk or branch of the trees. Typically the fungus enters through pruning wounds, frost cracks, or broken branches. The fungus can be found on dead and dying shrubs and once it enters the surrounding soil.

Fire Blight – Appearance includes small, dark brown or black leaves that tend to hang on to the ends of branches. It is a serious bacterial disease that can affect a wide variety of trees but is most commonly found in apple, cotoneaster, firethorn, hawthorn, quince, and pears. The bacteria that causes the disease can be spread from tree to tree by pollinators.

Sooty Mold – Signs include leaves being covered with a black sooty material. It is a product of a fungus that grows in residue excreted by aphids, scales, mealybugs, and other insects, which are the primary problem. They can be found on maple, pine, linden and elm trees, among others.

Oak Wilt – Oak wilt can be easily mistaken with oak anthracnose (fungal pathogen) or bacterial leaf scorch. Oak wilt typically impacts red, scarlet, black, and pin oaks. Symptoms of oak wilt are leaves that display a clear horizon between both green and brown (dead) leaf tissue as if they’ve been dipped in brown paint. The tree may also drop its leaves in the summertime.

Tree diseases can have a detrimental impact on valued trees on your property. We would be happy to review any trees to determine if they have been adversely affected and provide suggestions to manage these issues.

Have questions or concerns about tree diseases on your property?  Call us today schedule an appointment, or fill out a quote request. We’d be happy to provide a free tree assessment to diagnose any trees of concern and inspect others on your property.