How To Get Rid of Tree Fungi
That fungus growing on your tree could kill it and turn it into an extreme hazard. By knowing how to deal with tree fungi, you can help your tree thrive for decades.
72tree.com gathered information on identifying harmful tree fungi, how to get rid of it, and what you can do to prevent it.
How To Treat Tree Fungus
Before you start dowsing your tree with fungicides and other chemical mixtures, you need to identify what type of fungus is growing on your tree and if it can be removed safely.
Mushroom Conks – If you have mushroom conks growing out of your tree trunk, it is a sign that the fungi at work have already penetrated the tree’s defenses and are decaying the heartwood of the tree.
For these mushroom conks to appear, there must be decaying wood within the tree to feed the fungus. This type of inner decay is known as heart rot.
When mushrooms grow from the root flare or in abundance on surface roots, you can be certain that the root system of the tree has been compromised and requires immediate attention.
Treatment: Do not try to remove mushroom conks from a tree, you may inadvertently release billions of spores that can infect surrounding trees and plants. Call a professional tree service to evaluate the extent of the damage to the tree and recommend a course of action.
Lichens – A lichen, or lichenized fungus, is two organisms functioning as one. Lichens comprise a fungus in a symbiotic relationship with an alga and typically appear as a flat rounded leafy structure attached to the bark of a tree.
Lichens may appear harmful but are superficial, cosmetic eyesores at best. These organisms do not possess roots and rarely cause any damage to the organism they attach themselves to.
Treatment: If you wish, most lichen species can be eliminated from a tree with a mixture of 6 tablespoons of liquid copper sulfate mixed with 1 gallon of water applied during the tree’s dormant season. When applying this mixture, cover the lichen to the point of runoff.
Before using chemicals to control lichens, read the instructions printed on the label. By following the manufacturer’s recommended directions, you can increase the chemical’s effectiveness while preventing injury to the tree.
Fire Blight – Fire Blight can be caused by bacterial and/or fungal infections. It causes twigs and branches to appear water-soaked, then dark, and finally dry and cracked. Twigs and branches die from the terminal end and take on a burned appearance. Branches may bend or curl, commonly referred to as “shepherd’s crook.” As leaves and fruit die, they remain on the branches.
Treatment: Prune out infected branches (at least 8 inches below the damage) during the spring and summer. Do not prune while the branches are wet, as blight is highly transmissible via splashing water. Sterilize all pruning equipment before and after use on an infected tree.
Chemical control of blight is not always effective and should be used as a preventative measure in healthy trees.
Read more about fire blight prevention at 72tree.com/preventing-fire-blight-tree-disease/
Cankers – Cankers are dead, fungus-infected portions of tree bark on the branches or the trunk. They may appear as dark, open, seething wounds, or sunken, darkened, “wet” areas of bark. Most plant pathogens cannot penetrate tree bark directly. Still, they will colonize bark wounded by wildlife, poor maintenance, or mechanical injury.
Canker diseases can cause extensive damage to trees when they kill enough of the bark to girdle a branch or trunk. The fungus causing the canker is also capable of spreading throughout the tree, by way of the xylem and phloem, eventually appearing in other areas of the tree.
Treatment: For cankers found on twigs, and branches, prune the affected twig or branch from the tree. While normal pruning activities should be restricted to the tree’s dormant season, cankers are considered urgent. They can be pruned off the tree at any time of the year.
Note: Sterilize your pruning equipment before and after use on an infected tree. By doing so, you can prevent introducing another pathogen to the already sickened tree, and carrying the illness to another healthy tree.
For small cankers on tree trunks, tracing may help to reduce damage and slow its spread. Cut outside the cankered area into healthy bark, shaping the cut as an ellipse (this will allow the tree to compartmentalize the entire wound over time). Care should be taken to avoid infection of the fresh wound with canker or other pathogens.
For larger cankers on the trunk of a tree, call a professional tree service to evaluate the extent of the damage and recommend a course of action to either treat and save the tree or remove it.
Read more about heart rot and other diseases at 72tree.com/5-tree-pests-diseases-avoid-spring/
Tree Fungus Prevention
Trees have evolved over thousands of years to protect themselves against illness and infestations. They are highly efficient at protecting themselves when they are healthy and thriving. You can aide your tree by:
• Carefully apply fungicides during dry weather and before fungal growth
• Making sure pruning activities are done timely and with sterilized equipment
• Promoting its health throughout the growing season
• Using insecticides to prevent insect infestations
• Removing suckers from surface roots
• Preventing soil compaction on or around the root plate
• Immediately addressing storm damage
• Addressing or removing troubled trees from or around your property
Tip: You can help trees fight fungal attacks and heal themselves by promoting their health. These are some of the things you can do to improve the health of your tree:
• Seasonal Pruning
• Annual Tree Inspections
• Organic Mulch
• Deep Watering (without overwatering)
• Protect Surface Roots and Trunk from Damage
The importance of an annual tree inspection cannot be overstated. Detecting problems in their beginning stages helps you eliminate the existing problems and prevent potential issues throughout the growing season.
Killing Tree Fungus
In this article, you discovered the different fungi that can attack and harm your tree, how to treat it, and prevent it.
By taking swift action to remove fungus-infected parts of a tree and use measures to stop future infections, you are extending the life of your tree, and preventing it from becoming a threat to your property and wellbeing.
When you ignore the signs of fungal infections on your tree, you risk the tree dying and causing catastrophic damages when it eventually succumbs and falls.
3 Evergreen Tree Species for Your Alpharetta and Roswell Yard
The difference between evergreen trees and deciduous trees becomes very obvious in the fall. Evergreens stay green and keep their foliage, while deciduous trees typically change the color of their leaves before dropping them and going dormant.
Evergreen trees do drop foliage, just not all at once. Throughout the year, they will drop small portions of their foliage and grow it back. These trees do not experience a dormant period like their deciduous counterparts, but they do slow down in the winter months.
For those with an aversion to raking up leaves in the fall, the arborist at 72tree.com identified 3 evergreen tree species to enhance your Alpharetta and Roswell Ga landscape.
Of the North American native tree species, pine trees are one of the most widely spread and varied classes. Because of their ability to adapt and the ease to care for them, pines remain very popular landscaping trees from coast to coast.
Height – Within the pine family, some of the species can reach an astounding 150 feet tall and live to be more than 450 years old.
Crown Width – Mature pine tree canopies can stretch from 15 t0 30 feet in diameter depending on the species and the environment it is planted in.
DBH – When pines such as these reach maturity, their trunk DBH (diameter at breast height) can measure from 2.5 to 4 feet. As with most trees, there is just as much happening below ground.
Root System – As pines develop an extensive, deep, expansive, and invasive root system, they should not be planted within 20 feet of permanent structures like fences, underground utility lines, or homes.
Pest Problems – Bark beetles, aphids, and bagworms are a few of the pests that enjoy making a meal of pine trees. Mites and tree scale are also likely.
Disease – Some of the more common diseases that affect pine trees are needlecast, root rot, and pine wilt.
Pesticides and fungicides can be used to curb the progress of these pests and diseases. However, in cases of severe infestation and infection, an arborist should be called to evaluate the tree and what actions should be taken (including the tree’s removal if necessary).
This classic Southern beauty (magnolia grandiflora) is very distinctive with its wide glossy leaves and enormous fragrant white blossoms. When it comes to year-round beauty, there are few trees that can keep up with it.
Its full luxurious look has made it a popular ornamental around the world.
This tree, although evergreen will drop leaves throughout the year. Growing anything beneath this tree (including grass) is difficult due to its dense foliage casting full shade and its shallow roots.
Height – A magnolia tree planted in a location with rich soil, little to no obstacles for the root system, and good soil drainage can reach heights of more than 80 feet.
Crown Width – While this tree possesses a pyramidal to rounded crown at the top, its width can reach 30 to 40 feet at the base and mid section.
DBH – Adult magnolias can reach a DBH of 24 to 36 inches. To reach this size takes anywhere from 80 to 100 years.
Root System – The species itself is a deep rooted one. First to develop is a strong tap root, then as the tree grows, many sunken roots will grow down from the root collar, and as the tree ages, major lateral roots will grow. When planted in areas with a high water table, the roots will grow more shallow and outward.
The optimum soil for this species is a rich, well drained, and slightly acidic one. When planting a magnolia, add generous amounts of organic material to the soil for the best growing conditions.
Although magnolia roots are not considered invasive, when planted too close to sidewalks or foundations, they will eventually cause undesired cracking and buckling.
Pest Problems – Varieties of scale, aphids, striped mealybug, spider mites, and magnolia leafminers are all potential infestation culprits.
Disease – There are a number of fungi which cause leaf spots. For the most part, they are unable to cause any significant damage to adult magnolias.
As well, there are a number of Polyporus fungi and Fomes which can cause heart rot.
Again, pesticides and fungicides can be used to curb the progress of these pests and diseases. When a severe infestation or infection is detected, an arborist should be called to assess what actions should be taken.
Of all of the evergreen trees you could want in your yard, eucalyptus should be at or near the top of the list. This species is a fast growing, insect repelling, and gorgeous tree that adds beauty and practicality to whatever landscape it grows in.
For most, the image you get when you hear “eucalyptus” is a koala bear latched on to a branch, munching away at the leaves. You may be surprised to learn that only the koala, some possum species, and a select few insects are actually able to consume parts of this species. In large quantities, this tree’s secret weapon (cineole) is toxic.
It is the cineole aka: eucalyptol in eucalyptus trees that make up the greatest part of its signature aroma. Eucalyptus essential oil has been used for centuries in the treatment of respiratory ailments, as a disinfectant, and as an antibacterial or anti-fungal agent in medicine.
Height – Eucalyptus tree sizes vary. Their height at maturity can range from 30 to 35 feet for smaller varieties all the way to over 200 feet for the tallest of the species.
These trees must be planted away from physical structures. Mature eucalyptus trees are known to unexpectedly drop branches.
Crown Width – The eucalyptus tree species will typically grow tall and relatively slender, with mature crowns reaching from 12 to 30 feet in diameter. Many varieties of the species are able to reach much greater diameters as they age.
DBH – Adult eucalyptus trees can reach a DBH of 15 to 20 inches.
It is worth mentioning that this species is able to reach maturity within 10 years of growth. That’s less than half (in some cases less than a third) of the time it takes for the majority of other species to reach maturity.
Root System – This species quickly adapts to the soil it is planted in. In rich, fertile soil, the roots have no need to go deep. The tree is on a fast track for height and the roots will spread horizontally staying close to the surface.
In more nutrient deprived soil, the roots will dive deep for their food and moisture source. Counterintuitively, it is the eucalyptus planted in poor soil that grows to be the more stable and wind or storm resistant.
Pest Problems – Little to none (as long as the tree remains healthy). High concentrations of cineole in all parts of eucalyptus trees acts a natural insect repellant.
Two species of Australian tortoise beetles (family Chrysomelidae) (still isolated in the west) chew semicircular holes or notches on edges of eucalyptus leaves.
These beetles are able to remove most of a leaf’s surface, leaving only the midvein.The damage caused by these beetles is unsightly but not life threatening to the tree.
If a tree is stressed enough, an opportunity opens up for the eucalyptus longhorn borer. The female of this species lays her eggs on stressed trees, producing larvae that burrow their way to the cambium layer.
A heavily infested tree can die within weeks, which is due to the larval galleries girdling the tree and disrupting the flow of water and nutrients.
Infestations must be treated immediately. Because of the speed at which death can occur, an arborist should be called to evaluate the tree and determine what actions to take.
Disease – Canker, heart rot, and Phytophthora can infect a stressed eucalyptus tree. All three of these fungi attack and damage the tree from the inside.
Signs of infection are discolored leaves and in severe cases, splitting of the trunk. In any of these cases, the tree should be removed, destroyed (burned) and all equipment disinfected to prevent the disease from spreading to other trees.
Tree Care for Evergreens
As long as evergreens are planted in hardiness zones where they can thrive and get ample summer sunlight and winter shade (possibly on the north side of your property), caring for these trees is relatively simple.
Water them regularly and mulch around their trunk. This will keep them strong and winter injury resistant. Evergreens (when not mulched or watered well) can be severely injured by the drying effects of the sun and wind through winter months.
A major benefit of evergreens in your yard is that there is no bad season. Even during the coldest days of winter, your landscape will be filled with full, and vibrantly-green trees.
What Is an ISA Certified Arborist?
If you have trees in your landscape, you should already know the immense value they can bring to your property. More-so, you should be aware of the danger they may pose if left uncared for. Keeping your trees healthy, well pruned, and vibrant works to create a diverse landscape ecosystem while boosting your home’s curb appeal.
The Role of an Arborist in Your Tree Care
When in the planning stages or the implementation phase of your landscape, consulting an ISA Certified Arborist will keep you from making potentially costly mistakes. Some trees should never be planted near structures, while others (with invasive root systems) should not be located near water supply lines, driveways or asphalt.
As your landscape grows and ages, the role of a Certified Arborist is to help you maintain your trees properly pruned, trimmed, and more importantly – healthy. When those trees are compromised by disease, pest infestations or severe weather, it is a properly trained and equipped arborist who can determine the best course for its removal.
Watch how our Roswell Ga arborist (https://georgiaarborist.org/Sys/PublicProfile/246617/62524) coordinates the removal of a high-risk tree using a 275 ton crane:
What is an Arborist?
Simply put, an arborist is a tree care professional. They are trained and have invested significant time in the study of planting, caring for, treating, removing, and overall maintenance of trees, either individually or in an ecosystem.
What is an ISA Certified Arborist?
For nearly a century, the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) has been a fundamental part in both the science and education within the tree care industry.
To become an ISA Certified Arborist, an individual must reach a level of knowledge and practice in the art and science of tree care. To carry the title “certified”, a comprehensive exam (created and developed by leading tree care experts) must be passed. It cannot go without mentioning that this process and certification are completely voluntary.
It doesn’t stop there. In order to maintain certification, Certified Arborists must follow a strict code of ethics and continue their education. Due to this aspect alone, when you call on a Certified Arborist, more-than-likely, the individual will possess the most current knowledge and practice available in the tree care industry.
NOTE: ISA Certification can attest to the knowledge of a tree care professional. It does not measure the standards nor the quality of service or performance.
The Hiring of a Tree Care Professional
All ethical Certified Arborists will agree that the decision to hire a tree professional should not be taken lightly. It is important to do the research and “know” who you are contracting to manage your tree issues. All ISA certified arborist are listed here: http://www.treesaregood.org/findanarborist/findanarborist
Look for reviews, ask for references, check out current or past projects to see (first hand) the quality of their work. It cannot be overstated, the necessity to be comfortable with the services provided by your tree professional, as that relationship may be ongoing for many years.
72tree.com staffs a master arborist to help Roswell residents with tree removal, cutting, disease, or assessment services. We look forward to assisting you and preserving the health of your trees and plants.