3 Common Tree Diseases: What You Need To Know

26 January 2015
 Categories: , Blog


Trees are a vital part of your landscaping. They keep your property beautiful throughout each season. Since they are living and breathing organisms, they need to be cared for to keep them healthy and growing. Like the human body, trees can become infected with a variety of diseases. Below is a quick reference guide to 3 of the most common tree diseases found in the United States. Understanding the signs and symptoms of an infected tree can help you preserve your the trees that beautify your property.

Cytospora Canker

Cytospora canker disease is caused by cytospora fungi. Cytospora fungi can attack a variety of trees, including:

  • Aspen
  • Ash
  • Birch
  • Cottonwood
  • Maple

The bark of these trees are targeted by the fungi. Once infected, the fungi leave behind large lesions (cankers) on the bark and discoloration at the points of infection. Orange is the primary color of discoloration when it comes to cytospora cankers. When a tree is infected with cytospora fungi, it will begin to lose branches and twigs. If the disease is left untreated it will take over and kill the tree.

If you have a tree infected with cytospora cankers, treatment is most effective when all infected limbs are removed. If the trunk of the tree is infected, cut away the infected bark and let the area dry to prevent reinfection.

Diplodia Blight of Pines

This disease affects pine trees. Unfortunately, there are no species of pine tree that are immune to the disease. If you begin to see short, brown shoots with substantially shorter pine needles than the rest of your tree, your tree may be infected. Sphaeropsis sapinea, sometimes referred to as diplodia pinea, is the fungi responsible for diplodia blight of pines. The tree is infected when the fungus gains entry through pores on individual needles.

Diplodia blight of the pines is best controlled with prompt and proper pruning and removal of the infected portions of the tree. For trees that are severely infected, fungicides and pesticides can be used to control the infection. Application of fungicides and pesticides are best administered by a professional tree service.

Dutch Elm Disease (DED)

Bark beetles spread ophiostoma ulmi fungi from infected trees to healthy trees causing Dutch elm disease, or DED. Once the fungi infects a healthy tree, it begins to block the vascular tissues of the tree, restricting water to the tips of the branches. The leaves wilt, turn yellow and eventually the entire branch will die. If the tree is not cared for quickly, you will lose it to Dutch elm disease. Proper care can involve many different steps or treatment options, including:

  • Treatment of all nearby trees infected with DED
  • Treatment and extermination of bark beetles carrying the disease
  • Pruning
  • Fungicide injection
  • Root grafting

Professional arborists and tree services best manage diseased trees. They are also the best solution when it comes to keeping your trees healthy and growing. Their expert knowledge, proper techniques and professional equipment make the job of keeping your trees looking their best incredibly easy. If you have trees that are showing signs of distress or disease, contact a tree service like Sylvester's Tree Service to assess the situation immediately.


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