Tag Archives: Tree Disease

Symptoms of Anthracnose

Dark brown irregular blotches on foliage indicates an anthracnose infection

Prevent anthracnose from harming your trees, shrubs, and turf, causing their decline and eventual death. By knowing how to identify this pesky fungal disease, you can take steps to control and prevent it.

72tree.com gathered information to help you identify the symptoms of anthracnose, what it infects, how to treat it, and how to prevent the disease.

What Is Anthracnose

Anthracnose is the name given to a group of fungal pathogens that attack a wide variety of herbaceous and woody plants in spring with cool and wet weather. Fungi overwinter (lie dormant) in dead twigs and fallen leaves. Cool, rainy weather provides perfect conditions for emerging spores to spread.

Anthracnose Symptoms

Anthracnose symptoms can appear differently depending on what part of a plant or tree it has infected. The following will help you positively identify an anthracnose infection:

Twig, Branch, and Stem/Trunk Symptoms – Anthracnose infections on twigs most commonly appear as small orange-brown blisters or as a brown band encircling and girdling the young twig resulting in shoot death.

In more advanced cases, anthracnose can cause open wounds on branches, stems, and trunks. These open wounds typically appear sunken, dark, and wet.

Anthracnose causes discoloration and death of twigs and branches

Leaf Symptoms – Tan to dark brown irregular shaped blotches develop on young leaves, and they are typically distorted, cupped, or curled. When there is a severe anthracnose infection, premature leaf drop can occur in spring. When this happens, trees will usually produce a second growth of foliage by midsummer.

An anthracnose infection may cause identical spots on mature leaves. Still, these leaves generally do not portray the cupped or distorted appearance. These spots on mature leaves are frequently accompanied by minor wounds from insect feeding.

For trees, these symptoms are typically most severe on lower and inner branches but can travel up through the entire canopy.

Fruit Symptoms – Anthracnose fruit rot is identified as brown to black, water-soaked, sunken spots on green and ripe fruit. These lesions can develop over time, depending on weather conditions during disease development.


Grass/Turf Symptoms
– Anthracnose diseases are common and destructive problems in landscapes and golf course greens with creeping bentgrass or annual bluegrass.

Anthracnose may develop in grasses as a foliar blight, in which grass leaves are infected, or a basal rot, attacking leaf sheaths, crowns, and stolons.

Anthracnose symptoms in grass and turf can be highly variable. Consider the following:

•Yellow to orange spots in irregular patterns
•Small freckle-like spots
•Circular patches reaching a foot in diameter

Symptoms are typically most severe in areas that are stressed from low mowing, excessive traffic, or inadequate irrigation or fertilization.

These symptoms first appear on the oldest growth, which dies back from the tip. The disease then gradually progresses to the younger leaves.

As the disease progresses from the foliage to basal rot, the leaf sheaths, crowns, and stolons will be darkened and rotten.

Tip: Use a magnifying glass to identify acervuli. These black, saucer-shaped pads with protruding black spines (setae) are the disease’s reproductive structures filled with spores.

Anthracnose Disease Cycle

An anthracnose disease cycle starts when a host is infected in spring or early summer from spores in fallen leaves, infected twigs/limbs, and lesions called cankers. Leaf infections commonly progress to stem and bud infections where the pathogen continues to grow and cause dieback.

Dieback is frequently the result of cankers growing over multiple years and, unless treated, will result in hydraulic failure to foliage, the decline in health, and vulnerability to deadly pathogens and/or infestations.

Dieback and defoliation caused by anthracnose

Generally, anthracnose infections are not lethal to plants and trees. But, if the pathogen is left to flourish for multiple growing seasons, it will weaken its host, allowing other diseases or insects to successfully attack and kill it.

Anthracnose Treatment

Due to the ease in which anthracnose spreads and infects plant life, once identified, fast action is required to prevent a wide-spread, severe outbreak. The following will help you reduce transmission of the pathogen:

•Apply a broad-spectrum, non-toxic bio-fungicide safe for organic use directly on and around infected areas
•Halt all overhead watering practices and install drip lines where possible
•Carefully prune and destroy all infected foliage, stems, and branches
•Collect and destroy fallen leaves, twigs, and debris from beneath infected trees, shrubs, and plants throughout the growing season and summer months
•Sanitize all pruning and gardening equipment after each use with a one part bleach to 4 parts water solution
•Call a professional tree service to treat cankers on tree trunks (tree removal may be required in more severe stages of infection)
•Do not walk through or work on your garden, lawn, or shrubs when they are wet
•Avoid composting infected foliage, fruit, cuttings, or stems
•Thoroughly clear debris from gardens and from under shrubs and trees in the fall to reduce overwintering opportunities for fungal spores

Read more about treating and eliminating fungi at 72tree.com/how-to-get-rid-of-tree-fungi/

Anthracnose Prevention

While it can be challenging to prevent, the following measures will help you protect your garden, bushes, and trees from anthracnose:

•Use western grown seeds which have not been exposed to anthracnose
•Plant disease-resistant species when possible
•Water, fertilize, prune, and mulch your plants and trees to promote their health
•Apply liquid copper sprays weekly throughout the growing season
•Apply sulfur powders weekly throughout the growing season
•Apply neem oil at the first sign of budding, then weekly throughout the growing season

Note: Neem oil is an organic, multi-purpose fungicide, insecticide, and miticide eliminating all stages of insects while preventing fungal attacks.

Anthracnose prevention with all natural neem oil

Anthracnose Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

In this article, you discovered what anthracnose is, how to identify it, and measures to treat and prevent it from harming your landscape.

By taking swift action to halt the progression and prevent anthracnose infections, you are preserving the health of your grass, plants, shrubs, and trees.

Allowing anthracnose to spread without treatment will leave the plant life on your landscape in poor health and susceptible to more deadly pathogens and infestations.

Sources:
extension.umn.edu/plant-diseases/anthracnose-trees-and-shrubs
content.ces.ncsu.edu/anthracnose-in-turf
ipm.illinois.edu/diseases/series600/rpd621/index.html
missouribotanicalgarden.org/gardens-gardening/your-garden/help-for-the-home-gardener/advice-tips-resources/pests-and-problems/diseases/anthracnose.aspx

 

How To Get Rid of Tree Fungi

Tree fungi living off of decomposing heartwood producing mushroom conks

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.

Tree fungi comprised of a fungus and an alga and harmless to trees

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.

Canker causing tree fungi on tree trunks and branches

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)
• Fertilization
• Protect Surface Roots and Trunk from Damage

Tree fungi removal by aggressive pruning

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.

Sources:
herbarium.usu.edu/fun-with-fungi/lichens
plantclinic.cornell.edu/factsheets/treecankers.pdf
vegcropshotline.org/article/10-useful-rules-for-fungicide-application/
extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.html?number=C871&title=Fireblight:%20Symptoms,%20Causes,%20and%20Treatment

Tulip Tree Information, Problems, and Care

Healthy tulip tree liriodendron tulipifera

Liriodendron tulipifera also known as tulip poplar is neither tulip nor poplar. This species is a relative of the magnolia tree and is unbelievably easy to care for.

A native North American species, L. tulipifera is the state tree of multiple states, unique in its rapid rate of growth, and exceptional in its beauty. The tulip tree should be strongly considered for mid-sized and large landscapes.

72tree.com gathered tulip tree information, problems, care tips, and answers several frequently asked questions.

Tulip Tree Information

Liriodendron tulipifera is a blooming tree species native to eastern North America. The tulip tree is among the tallest of the eastern US species, is long-lived, and a favorite specimen tree in landscaping.

Tree Name – Yellow poplar
Scientific Name/Species – Liriodendron tulipifera
Family – Magnoliaceae
Genus – Liriodendron
Nickname(s) – Tulip tree, tulipwood, American tulip tree, tulip tree, tulip poplar, whitewood, and Oonseentia (in the native Miami-Illinois language).
State Tree – Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

Lifespan – Can live up to 500 years or more when planted in optimal conditions.
Type – Deciduous.
Hardiness Zone(s) – from 4 to 9
Soil Requirements – Prefers well-drained, slightly acidic, moist, rich, and fertile soil with full sun exposure.
Planting Spacing – 35ft between trees.
Watering Requirements – Regular when young or planted. Minimal thereafter.

Height – 80 to 100ft on average (can reach nearly 200ft under optimal conditions)
DBH – 4 to 6ft.
Crown Span – 30ft or more at maturity (can be conical or oval in shape).
Root Spread – Yellow poplar roots will tend to match the growth of the tree. If the tree is 100ft tall by 40ft wide, its roots will likely grow 100ft deep and 40ft wide. In some cases, the roots may extend much farther outward in search of water.
Uses in Landscaping – A magnificent specimen, screen, or large shade tree, and is better suited for more spacious landscapes.
Winter/Fall Colors – Yellow before leaf-drop in the fall.

Tulip Tree Problems

Healthy tulip trees are incredibly resistant to insect infestations and disease. However, when your tree is stressed by drought conditions, soil compaction, soil nutrient depletion, or poor pruning, insects and diseases can successfully attack it.

Tulip tree liriodendron tulipifera aphid infestation

Pests – Tuliptree scale, yellow poplar weevil, and aphids, in the spring and summer months.
Disease – Powdery mildew, verticillium wilt, and canker.

Major Disease Threat – Verticillium Wilt

Symptoms of Verticillium wilt are premature foliar chlorosis and necrosis, and discoloration in both stems and roots. Symptoms of wilting become more apparent on warm or hot days.

This pathogen attacks a potential host by colonizing its roots and spreading throughout the roots, trunks, and stems. Due to this, one of the best forms of disease management is to encourage the healthy growth of your tree.

Tulip Tree Care Tips

There isn’t much you will need to worry about as long as your tulip tree is:

• Within its hardiness zone (4-9).
• Growing in partial shade to full sun.
• Planted in moist, well-drained soil with a pH of 3.7 to 6.5.

Tulip tree liriodendron tulipifera leaves

Pruning should be done once the tree has entered dormancy in late fall and early winter. However, when cankers are detected, prune out the affected area including the canker (all the way to the trunk if needed).

If the canker is located on the trunk, or when other irregularities are detected, call on a professional tree service or arborist to evaluate the tree and offer guidance.

People Also Ask

Question: Are tulip tree roots invasive?
Answer: No. If they are planted far from structures, walkways, or driveways, and the roots are readily able to absorb moisture.

Answer: Yes. As with all tree species, the purpose of roots is a never-ending quest for water and nutrients. When they are deprived, they will spread, and make their way underneath foundations and other structures.

For more on the destructive capabilities of tree roots, read 72tree.com/tree-roots-buckling-concrete-driveway/

Question: What is tulip poplar wood used for?
Answer: Lumber from tulip poplars is commonly used for fencing, siding, flooring, and some furniture.

Question: Can poplar wood be painted?
Answer: As this wood has a particularly straight grain, paints adhere to it quite well. Stains, on the other hand, have a tendency to blotch and usually require that a conditioner be applied before application.

Question: Is poplar as strong as oak?
Answer: No. While considered to be a hardwood, the fast growth rate of the tree produces a softer/weaker wood making it easy to work with.

Question: Do tulip trees bloom every year?
Answer: Yes. However, this species only produces its first blooms after nearly 20 years of growth. Thereafter, it will bloom annually in late spring or early summer.

Tulip tree liriodendron tulipifera blooming flower

Question: Are tulip trees messy?
Answer: Yes. Like all deciduous tree species, they lose their foliage in the fall. If subjected to drought conditions, tulip trees may drop their foliage prematurely in late summer. Not to mention that when the tree blooms, the flower petals will litter the ground around the tree.

Question: Can tulip trees be planted in Georgia?
Answer: Yes. The entire state is within the required hardiness zone for healthy tulip tree growth. For more on this and other great landscape trees, read 72tree.com/5-popular-alpharetta-ga-shade-trees/

Liriodendron Tulipifera is a Perfect Landscape Specimen

Although sometimes called “tulip” or “poplar,” or both, the Liriodendron tulipifera is neither of the two. This magnificent relative of the magnolia rapidly grows tall and full, making it highly desirable as a landscape specimen tree.

In this article, you discovered tulip tree information and specifications, its problems, how to care for them, and answers to frequently asked questions.

If the tulip tree isn’t a part of your landscape, you are missing out on a fast growing and beautifully shaped shade or screen tree. They are easy to plant and require minimal care efforts.

Sources:
https://extensiongardener.ces.ncsu.edu/extgardener-tulip-poplars-for-large-and-small-landscapes/
http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/GARDEN/PLANTS/tuliptree.html
https://extension.psu.edu/tulip-poplar-diseases
http://www.apsnet.org/edcenter/intropp/lessons/fungi/ascomycetes/pages/verticilliumwilt.aspx
http://hort.ufl.edu/database/documents/pdf/tree_fact_sheets/lirtula.pdf

3 Evergreen Tree Species for Your Alpharetta and Roswell Yard

Flowering magnolia tree with new bloom

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.

Pine Trees

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.

Mature pine tree with pinecones

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).

Magnolia Trees

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.

Magnolia tree with new spring foliage

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.

Roswell Ga yard with two mature magnolia trees

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.

Eucalyptus Trees

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.

Mature eucalyptus tree with koala bear

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.

Eucalyptus tree trunk and crown

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.

Sources:
http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74104.html
http://homeguides.sfgate.com/care-maintenance-evergreen-trees-59096.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salix_babylonica#Horticultural_selections_and_related_hybrids
https://gardenerdy.com/types-of-evergreen-trees
https://www.ambientbp.com/blog/7-facts-eucalyptus-trees

5 Tree Pests and Diseases to Avoid this Spring

Tree pest inchworm cankerworm infestation

Spring has arrived and with the new season comes new tree problems. It isn’t just the flowers blooming, trees budding, and pollen everywhere; tree pests and diseases are coming alive as well.

Generally, when winter weather and lower temperatures are sustained throughout the season, pests and disease won’t pose much of a threat in the spring. This year however, winter weather and temperatures were relatively mild, favoring the spread of disease and increasing pest population. It’s just the beginning of the season, and there is great potential for tree damage this spring.

The arborist at 72 Tree, Seed & Land Co. identified 5 common tree killers, and methods to get them under control this spring. Also being discussed are routine tree and landscape inspections, pest and disease prevention, and ongoing tree care throughout the year.

3 Common Spring Tree Pests

While there are a wide variety of tree pests, the following have been singled out due to the extent of the damage they can cause. So take heed because, the damage often goes unnoticed until removal of the tree is necessary.

Bagworms – If the leaves on your tree are turning brown or the needles are falling off of your pine, the culprit may be bagworms. Your tree is their food, and as they consume, your tree is unable to produce vital nutrients to keep it healthy and alive.

These worms make a bag-like nest (thus the name) which is often mistaken for a pinecone. In the fall, they mate and each female bagworm is able to lay over 500 eggs that hatch in mid spring.

There are two effective ways of controlling bagworms. You can physically remove and destroy the “bags”, or apply a pesticide in the spring as they are hatching. Once you have confirmed that bagworms have invaded your landscape, you will likely need the help of a professional tree service to keep them under control.

Cankerworms – Also known as inchworms, cankerworms chew away at the foliage of your trees. There are two species of this pest “fall cankerworm” and “spring cankerworm” but don’t let the name mislead you, they both hatch in the spring and feed on the same trees.

The damage they inflict on trees is more stress related and potentially leads to dieback, borer damage, and even root decline. For a healthy tree, one year of cankerworm defoliation won’t necessarily result in the loss of the tree. However, multiple years of defoliation will weaken the tree, making it susceptible to other pests that can ultimately lead it to its death.

When there is a breakout of this pest, there are two principle treatments.

1) Banding the trees in the fall (the wingless females stick to the band and cannot reach the canopy to deposit their eggs) is one very effective measure.

2) The other is the use of pesticides shortly after the worms have hatched. This measure is only effective while the worms are small and should be monitored by an arborist to ensure proper control is achieved.

Southern Pine Beetle – (Dendroctonus frontalis) These boring tree killers are known as the most destructive forest insect in the southern states. The signs or symptoms of an infestation are severe dieback, browning, and eventual death of entire limbs, foliage, and the tree itself.

Once this beetle attacks and succeeds at making a tree its host, the adults emit a pheromone attracting other beetles to the tree. In a matter of days, a tree’s defenses can be overrun by thousands of beetles. As one tree becomes overpopulated, the beetles will seek out nearby trees to colonize, thus expanding their population and local infestation potential.

It is the older and weakened trees that are more susceptible to beetle infestation. Control is accomplished by promoting the health of your trees, and when there is a breakout, applying insecticides to the tree bark is an alternative.

If you have a tree affected or infested by southern pine beetles, you will need an arborist to help identify witch, and if measures can be taken to thwart the infestation.

2 Common Spring Tree Diseases

Throughout the lifecycle of a tree, it may be faced with a number of fungal invaders from its roots to its leaves. While a tree builds a natural resistance to these invaders, trees are not completely immune and can be severely debilitated. The following tree diseases are ones that should be addressed immediately after being diagnosed.

Fire Blight(Erwinia amylovora) Is a contagious plant disease. Blight is a hard to control pathogen that robs plant and tree foliage of its nutrients, causing the blackening and death of that foliage. Fire blight differs from dieback in that it leaves behind the appearance that the foliage has burned. Thus the name.

Blight is most successful in the springtime, as temperatures and humidity remain ideal for its growth. As with other pathogens, it is spread from host to host by physical contact, insects, birds and other wildlife; be careful when working in the garden because even the tools used for landscape maintenance can transmit fire blight disease.

Moreover, there is no known cure for blight. Control is achieved by pruning and destroying the affected foliage and limbs. The use of pesticides can also aid to control the pest population. As stated, the proper cleaning of equipment after use is helpful to avoid its proliferation. While the planting of resistant or tolerant species is an effective and proactive approach to overcome this disease.

NOTE: When cleaning garden and landscape equipment after handling diseases such as blight, applying a bleach solution (1 part bleach to 4 parts water) to your tools is recommended to neutralize the pathogen.

In the following link we discussed preventing fire blight tree disease in more depth, so check it out for more solutions and detail of this devastating disease.

Heart Rot – Heart rot is a fungal disease causing the softening and decay of the wood found at the center of a tree’s trunk and branches. When you see mushrooms or fungus conks attached to the trunk or branches of a tree, it can be a strong indicator that heart rot is present within the tree.

Fungi enter the tree through damaged bark or poorly pruned ares, move to the heartwood, and begin the process of decay. Softening of the heartwood leaves trees structurally weak and prone to collapse or breakage.

Hardwood trees are affected by heart rot on a global scale, and is extremely difficult to prevent. However, if a tree is growing vigorously, it may be able to isolate the affected portion of itself through a process called compartmentalization.

Control of this destructive disease may be achieved by keeping your tree healthy through proper pruning techniques, annual inspections by an arborist, and post storm maintenance and pruning.

Routine Tree and Landscape Inspections

Tree and landscape inspections start with you. When you’re out mowing, watering, pruning, or playing in your yard, observe the plants, shrubs, and trees. Look for insect infestations, discoloration in the foliage, and dieback of the limbs and crown. For more on dieback and signs of a diseased tree, visit 72tree.com/signs-diseased-tree-dieback-suckers-water-sprouts/

Once a year, hire an arborist to thoroughly inspect your trees and the plant life in your yard. They are trained to spot potential health issues, and implement the best solutions to save and/or extend the lives of your plants.

Prevention and Continued Care

The best preventative maintenance for your trees and plants is the consistent and continued care that you provide them. Healthy plants have the strength to develop defense systems that ward off both pests and disease.

Proper and timely pruning, watering, and fertilizing will help your trees reach maturity faster and in a stronger and more resistant way.

Controlling Pests and Disease All Year

Every pest has its season and every season has its pests. As you have probably gathered by now, the best way to control pests and disease is by keeping your trees, shrubs, and plants healthy through remaining proactive and aware of their state.

Pest control will help in stopping the spread of pathogenic fungi and bacteria, as well as curbing some of the more voracious insects. Fungicides will also help keep many of the pathogens away from your landscape’s ecosystem.

Keep your trees healthy this spring and for years to come by knowing what to look for and which steps to take. And when something strange pops up, call on your local arborist to address and get it solved.

My Tree is Dying from the Top Down

Tree with canopy dieback from the top down

What causes a tree to die from the top down? A common reason for a tree to die from the top down or from its outer limbs is drought. Even with reasonable rainfall, your tree may not be getting the water it needs to thrive and survive.

When a tree begins to deteriorate from the top down, this condition is also known as dieback. Dieback is the gradual death of tree branches, foliage, and/or limbs starting at the tips (extremities) and moving inward toward the trunk. Dieback, as mentioned above may result from drought. However, there may be a variety a variety of causes contributing to the gradual death of your tree.

The following will help you to identify what is causing dieback, the options available to save the tree, and the actions you can take to prevent the tree’s death.

What Can Cause Dieback from the Top Down?

In order to identify the cause of dieback, you need to know what you are looking for. The following are common reasons and symptoms when tree health declines.

Drought – Symptoms include the wilting or discoloration of leaves, limb, twig, and branch dieback, as well as the death of roots. Trees suffering from drought are very likely to be affected by insects, disease, or both.

Soil Imbalance – Soil is composed of minerals, organic and inorganic matter, water, air, and has an acidic or alkaline pH level. When an imbalance of these levels occurs, nutrients needed for the tree’s survival may not be absorbed. This can certainly lead to dieback and death of the tree if not addressed.

A sure sign of soil trouble is the absence of worms, plant growth, and small insects. “Life” should be detected in your soil, if not your soil’s health needs attention.

Insect Infestation – Invasive insect species also cause or accelerate dieback. When trees are stressed, they produce more amounts of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. This in turn makes them more attractive to invasive insects that feed off them.

As an infestation grows, the tree becomes more stressed and in turn, produces more of the chemicals – attracting more insects. This process can become a self-reinforced loop, and the initial stressors now combined with the infestation will eventually lead to the death of the tree if not treated promptly.

NOTE: While trees have adapted their defenses and healing processes over the millennia, it is these same adaptations that may feed an insect infestation.

What Options Do I Have to Save My Tree?

For each of the causes listed above, there is a specific course of action to halt or even reverse it. Once the cause is identified, the following simple treatments may help to save your tree.

Drought Treatment – During dry seasons or when rainfall is scarce, give your trees a thorough watering once a week. Make sure that the soil is soaked to a depth of at least twelve inches. Mulching around your trees base will slow the evaporation process and help the soil and tree retain moisture.

Soil Imbalance Treatment – While calling in a Certified Arborist may be the best option here, you are perfectly capable of getting a soil test kit from your local nursery or home improvement store (gardening department). Use the kit to determine if there is an imbalance for the species of affected tree(s), then seek appropriate soil treatments to return the soil to a healthy composition.

Insect Infestation Treatment – Once an infestation is confirmed, insecticides, traps, and oil can be used to kill the existing insects and prevent further infestation. Read this 72tree.com/using-dormant-horticultural-oil-treat-tree-insect-infestations/ for more on using and applying oils to treat insect infestations.

It is important to note that insect infestations are typically the result of a tree already stressed or in bad health. Once the infestation has been dealt with, begin looking for other stressors that may have lead to the weakening of the tree’s health.

How Do You Save a Dying Tree?

When dieback occurs, saving your tree will involve pruning or trimming off the dead parts of the tree, and identifying the reason that the dieback occurred. Once identified, treat it. If it is an infestation that is threatening other trees and plants, you may have to make the decision to completely remove the tree to prevent further contamination and damage.

Proper Treatment and Prevention – Once you have treated the cause of your tree’s dieback, understand that you can save a dying tree by simply paying attention to it through the seasons. Your tree will show signs of stress, and once you detect it, consider it a call to action.

It is equally important to establish and follow seasonal maintenance and care. Bringing in a Certified Arborist or reputable tree service to inspect your trees and landscape will help give you the upper hand in keeping your trees healthy!

Preventing Fire Blight Tree Disease

What is Fire Blight Tree Disease?

Fire blight is a hard to control disease of fruit trees like pear and apple. It is caused by bacteria, its effects are devastating and it leaves a behind a burnt appearance; this is where it gets its name from. In addition to fruit trees, it attacks ornamental plants like roses, cotoneaster crabapple, loquat, hawthorn, pyracantha, and mountain ash. Unlike dieback, fire blight attacks flowers first, twigs next and finally branches.

Signs of this Disease

The first signs of fire blight usually appear in early spring, when the weather is humid and rainy and when temperatures rise above sixty degrees. Flowers infected by the disease turn black and die. The disease moves through the branch, infecting and killing young twigs. These dead twigs go black and curl over like a shepherd’s hook.” Affected branches look fire scorched as their leaves are black and wilted. Cankers, which are slightly sunken areas show up on the branches and the trunk. Fire blight affects many parts of the plant including leaves, stems, fruits and blossoms. In wet spring weather, a translucent milk-like, sticky liquid that contains multitudes of bacteria oozes out of the infected part of plant.

Fire blight spreads effortlessly in a lot of different ways and through different means, they include:

• Insects, birds, and animals transmit it from one plant to another.
• Rain drops splashes the bacteria among plants.
• Plants make contact all the time, that way the bacteria can move from an infected plant to an uninfected plant.
• Gardening tools can transmit the disease when gardening or even when watering. Tools should be sterilized after use on an infected plant.

Late spring or early summer is the maximum time of risk of infection. At this time, the bacterial emerges from its dormant period and the cankers become more pronounced. Infected branches should never be left on the ground when pruned, they should be immediately burnt or put in a bin as placing them on the ground could infect the surrounding bushes or trees.

Commonly Affected Plants

In your home garden, fire blight can be very damaging to pear and apple trees especially pear trees as they are very susceptible. Some pear trees, (e.g. Bradford) are unaffected by the disease but can develop it when the environment is advantageous to disease development. Some plants in the rose family such as the Rosacea, can be infected with fire blight, others include; mountain ash, photinia, crabapple, hawthorn, loquat, pyracantha, spirea, cotoneaster and quince.

Prevention & Treatment

Fire blight has no cure thereby making prevention very important. Though there are many ways to control fire blight, these methods are not 100% effective. Some fire blight control methods include; making use of recommended sanitation measures and cultural practices, choosing tolerant varieties, and applying bactericides and insecticides.

Bactericides & Insecticides: Bacteria enters plants through fresh wounds, blossoms or natural openings, it is then spread by rain and insects such as ants, bees, aphids, beetles and flies who transfer the bacteria to blossoms. Insect control can decrease the spread of bacteria, however, insecticides shouldn’t be used when plants are blooming. To learn more about disease and pest prevention oils, visit: 72tree.com/using-dormant-horticultural-oil-treat-tree-insect-infestations/

Sanitation Measures & Cultural Practices: all infected plant parts should be removed and destroyed, and all pruning tools should be disinfected with household bleach and water (one part bleach and nine parts water). This will lead to a reduction in the spread of the disease. Cuts should be made at least 8 to 12 inches beneath the infected tissue.

Pears: Pear trees can be treated with a copper fungicide spray (pre-bloom) and a streptomycin spray in bloom. The first spray should be applied immediately the flowers open and should be repeated every three to four days. There should be a minimum of fifty days between the application of streptomycin and harvesting of fruits.

Apples: If fire blight was severe the year before, then copper fungicide should be sprayed just before bloom. All branches and spurs should be thoroughly covered with streptomycin spray which is the recommended bactericide for apple trees in bloom. It should be sprayed first at the beginning of bloom and should be repeated every three to four daysas long as there are flowers.

Crabapple: copper fungicides are also used to treat crabapple trees. In other to lessen bacterial inoculum on the exterior of twigs and spurs, they should be applied before and after bloom. It shouldn’t be applied when plants are blooming as it may cause fruit abortion or russeting on the plant.

Arborists Discuss Controlling Tree Disease

Scheduling an annual inspection of your landscape is another way to prevent and treat tree disease. When you detect that something has gone awry with your trees and plants, contact your local tree professional. Properly identifying and treating the issue is key to halting it and preventing future occurrences.

Sources:
http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/pests/plant_pests/veg_fruit/hgic2208.html
https://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/BP/BP-30-W.pdf

 

Using Dormant Horticultural Oil to Treat Tree Insect Infestations

The major difference between the newer horticultural oils and past dormant oils is that they are much more refined and they are useable throughout the year. Most horticultural oils are refined from petroleum oil. 

dormant horticultural oil being sprayed by an arborist for tree insects and diseaseThe refined oil is combined with an emulsifying agent; this allows the oil to mix with water which makes spraying easier. Originally dormant oils were heavier and less well-refined, however, they have been replaced with light weight, better refined oils that can be applied all year round on foliage without damaging it. The time of application is now why it is referred to as dormant oil and not the properties of the oil.

That said, there are other oils that can be used to deter insects and tree diseases and they are; Mineral oil, summer oil, Supreme oil, Superior oil, Vegetable oil, Cottonseed oil, Soybean oil, and Neem oil. Our www.72tree.com arborist can apply the horticultural oil to treat any insect infestations and diseases you may have. Listed below are the uses, precautions and benefits of the dormant tree oil.

The Use and Application of Horticultural Oil

Horticultural oils are effective, safe and they do not harm useful insects. Spraying should be done before buds swell and can be sprayed even if the buds are slightly swollen. This may damage some of the buds but the advantages overshadow the damage. Here are some benefits of the horticultural oil:

• They smother and kill insects.
• They disrupt the feeding of insects which is important in stopping the spread of plant viruses by aphids.
• They can also be used against powdery mildew.

When you buy concentrated Horticultural spray oil, you will need to dilute the product to create your spray. Some oils require mixing with water, so be cautious and follow the appropriate instructions. When the oil is liquified and sprayed on, the application may appear thin and disappear quickly as it dries. Don’t mistake this and ignore the prescribed application instructions. When applied consistently, you will notice scales falling off and insects avoiding your trees or plants.

Precautions – Oils shouldn’t be used on oil sensitive plants and when temperatures are high (100° F) or very low. Also, if rain is likely to fall or the plant is wet then application should be avoided. Do not apply oils in freezing weather as it can cause the emulsion to produce uneven coverage. Finally, when shoots are growing, oils shouldn’t be sprayed. 

Protection Year Round from Insects and Diseases

During the growing and dormant seasons, protecting your shrubs, ornamentals, vegetables, shades and fruit trees is important. Properly applied horticultural oil can help control and deter spiders, insects, moths, aphids and plant disease from killing your trees, shrubs, vegetables and plants.