Treating Your Trees Like They Deserve To Be Treated

2 Potentially Fatal Tree Diseases That Strike The Western White Pine

The western white pine is a large pine tree with beautiful green needles, long drooping pine cones, and a light gray bark that gives the tree its name. The western white is a brilliant pine tree for properties and large yards seeking a slight variation on the traditional pine. But you need to perform some maintenance to ensure that the western white keeps as beautiful as possible and that maintenance includes monitoring for signs of tree disease – a couple of which can prove fatal to the tree.

What are some of the tree diseases that threaten a Western White Pine – and how can a tree care service help?  

White Pine Blister Rust

The fungal disease white pine blister rust is the largest threat to the western pine’s lifespan. The disease causes dark blistered areas on the bark that can look reddish in coloration. Needles on the affected branch will start to brown until dead then fall off the tree until the entire branch is stripped. If the disease progresses to the point that the blisters form on the trunk, there’s nothing a tree care service can do to save the tree. Call in a tree removal service to take care of the tree right down to the stump.

But if the trunk isn’t yet affected, a tree pruning service might be able to remove the affected branches and keep the disease from spreading. The service will also need to remove any currant plants in the area as the blister is a two-host kind of disease and without one, the currant plant, present in the area the disease can’t thrive on the other host.

Pole Blight

Pole blight is another potentially fatal disease that can strike the western white pine tree. The symptoms include yellowing needles that then brown and fall from the tree, hard ridged lesions forming on the bark, and tufts of twig-like growths that can appear on the affected branches.

There aren’t any clear cures for the pole blight so the best chance is to enlist the help of a tree care service to keep the tree pruned and as healthy as possible to strengthen the tree’s own defenses. There’s a possibility that the tree will fight off the disease on its own. If the disease progresses, you might need to call in a tree removal company, especially if you have other pine trees that aren’t yet affected.   

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Preventing And Handling Dutch Elm Disease: A Guide For Homeowners

With their jagged, ovular leaves and coarse bark, elm trees are a sight to behold. The elm first appeared in Asia more about 40 million years ago, and later moved to North America. Today, however, Elms in North America are threatened by a disease known as Dutch elm disease. If you are lucky enough to have an elm tree on your property, it’s important to know a bit about preventing, detecting, and handling this serious tree disease.  

How is Dutch elm disease spread, and how can you protect your tree?

Dutch elm disease, like many tree diseases, is caused by a fungus. Fungus on an infected tree produces spores that are found in the tree’s inner bark. Beetles that feed on this bark, known as elm bark beetles, pick up the spores, and when the move to another elm tree, then bring the spores along with them, infecting the new tree.

If you want to protect your tree from Dutch elm disease, the key is to minimize contact with the beetles that carry the fungus. This can be accomplished by:

  • Never bringing any firewood or dead wood onto your property. (It may contain the elm bark beetles.)
  • Cleaning up fallen leaves and twigs regularly throughout the fall. (These may attract the beetles).
  • Having insecticides applied to the lower branches of the tree in the fall when the beetles are most active.

What are the signs of Dutch elm disease?

Even if you take all of the precautions above to protect your tree, there’s still a chance it could develop Dutch elm disease. The first sign of the disease is usually certain branches turning brown and dying. The leaves will turn yellow and then brown. Additional branches will succumb to the same plight over a period of several months or years.

If you suspect your tree may have Dutch elm disease, take a close look at the fallen leaves. Are they uniformly brown by the time they fall? If they’re only yellow with bits of brown along the margin, the problem is probably elm yellows, a less serious fungal infection. Contact a tree care specialist who can come treat your tree with fungicides and hopefully clear up the infection. If the leaves are completely brown, you most likely are dealing with Dutch elm disease.

What do you do if your tree has Dutch elm disease?

Sadly, there’s no saving the tree. To prevent spreading the infection to other trees in the area, it’s best to have it removed sooner rather than later. If you take down the tree yourself, be sure to burn the bark to destroy any elm bark beetles it is harboring. Inner wood can be salvaged and used if it is still in good shape since the beetles are not typically found here. For further assistance, contact local professionals, such as those from Arbor Man Tree Care.  

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