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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Why Do Your Tree’s Leaves Have Spots?

When spots start appearing on your tree’s leaves, this is usually sign of a fungal disease. Figuring out just what fungal disease is affecting your tree will help you determine how to best handle the situation. Follow this guide to figure out what fungus is infecting your tree.

Are the spots white and fuzzy?

If the spots on your tree’s leaves are white (or pale green) and fuzzy, then downy leaf spot is probably to blame. Usually, the spots are round, though if two appear near each other they might look like blotches.

Downy leaf spot is caused by a fungus called Microstroma juglandis, and it most commonly affects hickory, pecan and walnut trees, though it can affect other species, too. The leaves that have developed spots will fall to the ground prematurely, and if you do not do anything to treat the disease, eventually some branches may die off.

Fungicides are not overly effective for treating this disease. The best way to deal with downy leaf spot is to collect all fallen leaves, nuts and branches, and burn them. The fungus over-winters in fallen leaves, so by removing these, you are interrupting its life cycle. Keeping your tree well watered and trimmed will also ensure it stays strong enough to fight off the infection.

Are the spots small and black?

Small black spots are typically caused by a disease called anthracnose. Caused by a number of related fungal species including Discula fraxinea and Stegophora ulmea, it can affect almost any species of tree.

Anthracnose does not usually cause serious harm to trees, but it is important to treat it since it can weaken the tree and leave it more prone to other more serious diseases. Having the tree sprayed with fungicides should help, as will cleaning up any fallen leaves. In some severe cases, anthracnose can cause cankers (sores) to develop on branches. If this is occurring, having these branches trimmed away is important since the cankers harbor the fungus.

Anthracnose and downy leaf spot are the most common fungal infections that cause spots on tree leaves. Both happen to be pretty harmless, though they can leave the tree susceptible to more serious infections. If you notice that entire branches seem to be dying or that large brackets are forming on the trunk, contact a tree services expert—your tree probably has a more serious ailment and will require more intensive treatment.

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