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.
5 Tree Pests and Diseases to Avoid this Spring
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.