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Tree Disease Identification: Is Your Tree Diseased?

tree disease identification

Are you concerned that the trees in and around your home might be diseased? You’re smart to do so. You see, diseased trees are dangerous and more likely to fall in the event of storms and strong winds. This can result in property damages, and worse still, loss of life. 

This is why tree disease identification is very imperative, particularly when you have a lot of trees around the house. In this article, we’ll point out the major symptoms of tree diseases, so you’ll know what to look for in your trees. 

At the end of the day, the key to healthy trees is careful watchfulness. This way, when you have the slightest symptoms, you can quickly treat, or take drastic measures to prevent serious damages. 

Twig Blight and Premature Leaf Defoliation

Another common fungi problem, this is called Anthracnose. There are two types: Anthracnose Spot, and Anthracnose Canker. The former’s effects are milder, while the latter is more dangerous to the trees because it affects the tree’s vascular system. 

Anthracnose is very common in hardwoods. But its effects are more pronounced in the White Oak, Dogwood, Black Walnut, and American Sycamore trees. You can easily identify this by looking for blotches or dead areas on the plant’s leaves. 

If left untreated over the course of several seasons, the fungus spreads to twigs and branches, resulting in indents or dark-colored lesions. When this happens, you know that it’s spread to the vascular system, and needs treatment immediately. 

The ultimate result of prolonged Anthracnose infection is tree death. This is why you must start treating right after the tree disease identification is completed. 

The best time to treat this is 14 days before bud break. Apply the fungicide to the leaves and twigs that are infected. You’ll need to do this every week until the leaves have fully grown.

Then, continually apply the fungicide every 3-4 four weeks throughout the season. And if it’s already latched on to the branches and stem, you might want want to prune and trim all dead twigs and branches first.

This will help slow down the spread of the disease. Then keep applying the fungicide. Also, clear all nearby areas of dead leaves and burn them. Spray all surrounding areas with the fungicide to prevent any spores from surviving overwintering. 

Ruptured Leaf Surface with Spots

Known as Leaf Rust, this condition presents with reddish, gold or orange spots on the leaves. This can discolor the leaves, providing it with a mottled brown or yellow appearance.

It can also have a white powdery material on the leaf surface. It may also cause the leaves to become twisted and dry. If left for too long, the effects can spread to tree twigs. Once you see this on your tree leaves, don’t panic.

It’s just a fungus that rarely kills or harms the tree. The only downside is that it makes the tree and its leaves unsightly. Its major problem is that it doesn’t allow the tree to carry out as much photosynthesis as is necessary.

So, it does interfere with its ability to make food and convert carbon dioxide to oxygen and vice versa.

There are many species of this fungus, and they’re all well adapted to their different tree species. So, even though they share the same appearance, the fungus type you’ll find in pines, may not be the same as that in a birch.

As a result, you’ll find that they may not all be the same during your tree disease identification process. This can be a bit confusing for many people. This is why it’s better to consult a tree service expert about it first. 

Their expertise will help you accurately pinpoint the fungus types causing the leaf rust, as well as the best treatment approach. And when you’re done, they’ll also show you what you need to do to prevent a recurrence.

Standard treatment protocols include the use of fungicide on the tree and its leaves. 

Fire Blight

This makes your trees look like they’ve either been burned or scorched by fire. the blossoms, leaves, twigs, and branches will often appear brown wilted and dead. 

This infection is caused by the Erwinia amylovora bacteria and is commonly found in warm climates and regions. As a result, it’s usually spread by pollinating agents like your regular pruning shears and bees, as well as rainfall. 

It’s more prevalent in pear, apple, mountain ash, firethorn, and hawthorn trees. It typically overwinters (hides) in infected barks and leaves, and starts spreading during the spring season.  

Once a tree’s leaves are affected, the bacteria spread very rapidly through new offshoots and growths. Mature tree branches and twigs tend to slow it down though. But they still don’t stop it completely. 

Infected twigs and branches typically start to darken and look like they’ve been burned by fire. Left untreated, the Fire Blight bacteria continues to spread, blocking the plant’s vascular system and slowly choking the life out of it. 

And while it’s doing that, its population will continue to increase, resulting in it oozing out of the tree bark, where it’s contracted and spread to other trees. 

Eventually, the infection will kill all infected trees without treatment. To control or get rid of the bacteria, you’ll need to trim and prune all affected tree parts.

After that, make sure that all pruning and trimming equipment are disinfected with chlorine-based bleach. 

Also, make sure to minimize the amount of fertilizer applied to the soil around the tree before and during treatment. This is because nitrogen tends to encourage the bacteria’s growth. 

Use the necessary herbicides and fungicides to treat the trees after trimming away and burning the infected parts. Remember that the distance between the pruning point and the last visible areas should be at least 16 inches.

Some people recommend 12 inches. But, we think the more space you give, the lower the chances of a recurrence. 

Is That All on Tree Disease Identification?

No. There’s a lot more to it, and there are many tree diseases too. Tree disease identification and diagnosis should be done by a tree specialist and professional.

You may have an idea, but it’s best to have the appropriate diagnosis before treating. If you’d like to identify tree diseases in Minneapolis and the St. Paul areas, get in touch with us at Golden Oak Tree Service. 

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