3 Diseases That Could Infect Your Tree

Tending the trees in your yard is not only a way to preserve their beauty, but a way to protect against the liability of a fallen tree. When something seems off with a tree, it can be hard to pinpoint the issue. Knowing what diseases to look out for will help you provide care to the infected tree and keep your other trees healthy. 

Sooty Mold

One of the most common diseases infecting tree leaves is sooty mold. Sooty mold is both a disease and a symptom of a larger problem. Sooty mold presents itself as an array of dark gray spots on the tree's leaves. Typically the spores take hold on a tree that has a pest infestation.

The mold feeds off of honeydew. Honeydew is the sugary excrement of piercing insects. As the mold develops, it blocks sunlight from being able to reach the leaves. While sooty mold won't kill your tree, it will weaken it and pose a cosmetic issue. To resolve the mold, you'll need to treat the tree for the pest causing the problem.  

Tree Canker

If you're noticing a growth on your tree that looks like an ulcer in the bark, it's likely tree canker. The ulcer can weep sap or could have ridges of bark around it. 

Canker is a disease of opportunity. It's a disease that infects the tree or branches during a period of weakness in the tree's health. Drastic temperature fluctuations, flooding, or pest damage can infect a tree with a canker. 

These conditions cause stress for the tree and lead to openings in the tree's bark that allow the pathogen to take hold. The tree fights the pathogen and attempts to form a callous - which is the canker. 

While you can't reverse tree canker, you can prune it off of affected branches. When your tree is dormant, remove the branch at least four inches below the ulcer.

Verticillium Wilt

When verticillium wilt infects your tree, it strikes suddenly. This fungus infects the vascular system of a tree and prevents water from reaching the tree's leaves. You may see half the tree wilting, yellow, or dead in advanced stages of the disease. If you were to cut open a branch on the infected side, you'd see a brown semicircle within the pulpwood. 

Sadly there isn't a treatment for verticillium wilt. It lives in the soil, and the only recourse you have it to select a tree variety that is resistant to wilt. Trees with this disease will need to be removed.

If your tree is showing any sign of these diseases, contact a local tree care company like Schulhoff Tree & Lawn Care, Inc. Your tree care technician will be able to diagnose the issue with your tree and recommend the best possible treatment.