How To Spot And Treat Common Tree Infections

Caring for your trees is important. Making sure trees are getting the right amount of water, the right amount of sunlight, and are being fertilized. However, there is a part of tree care that might be more overlooked. That is tree infections. To learn more call tree trimming round rock.

What Are Tree Infections?

Trees can get infections that can negatively affect their growth or even cause them to die. But how can we even treat tree infections? More specifically, what tree infections are there?  If we refer to Steve Nix’s article on Thought Co titled, ‘An Index of Tree Infections’ we learn that there are over 30 common tree diseases that are the causation of health decline and death in a large majority of trees all over the United States.

These diseases not only cause a significant replacement expense of common trees planted in yards but they also take a huge toll on the commercial expense of later losses of forest products. Some diseases may be more of an issue for landscape trees and yard tree planting. Others have unfortunately been catastrophic to forest trees and single tree species.

Since we know what tree infections do, what are some of the major tree diseases? We can get a detailed list of tree infections if we read more of Steve Nix’s article. There are many tree infections, most of which attack hardwood trees. For example, Beech Bark Disease is an example of an infection that attacks hardwoods.

This disease causes notable mortality and defect in American Beech. The disease occurs when the bark is attacked and altered by the beech scale, Cryptococcus fagisuga Lind., is overrun and killed by fungi. The beech scale is a total mouthful!

Another common infection is canker rot. This disease attacks hardwoods as well. The fungi that come from canker-rot causes serious degrade in hardwoods. Heartwood decay is the worst kind of damage. However, the fungi also decay the sapwood for as much as above and below the canker point into the tree. It’s highly destructive.         

However, some tree infections affect more than just hardwoods. Fusiform Rust, for example, attacks conifers. This devastating disease cause death within only five years of a tree’s life if it gets infected. The mortality rate is worse on trees that are less than 10 years old. This disease has sadly caused the loss of millions of dollars annually to timber growers.

Nobody likes rust anyway, especially on trees! Some tree infections attack more than one type of tree. Armillaria Root Rot attacks hardwoods and conifers. It appears no tree is safe! Armillaria kills more than just trees. It can also kill shrubs and vines all over America. It’s pervasive and destructive, all while being a major cause of oak decline. This infection affects trees that are already weakened by other pests, climate factors, and more.

The fungi don’t stop there, though. It can also kill healthy trees outright or making them susceptible to other pests or infections.  There is an even more devastating tree infection. That is American Chestnut Blight. Chestnut Blight is a fungus that has nearly wiped out the American Chestnut, mainly as a commercial species, from eastern hardwood forests.

Roots from trees that are cut or killed years ago can continue to produce sprouts, spreading the infection to sick and healthy trees. Unfortunately, there seems to be no indication that there is a cure for this disease.

Now that we know what a few common tree infections are, how do we identify them?  Some tree infections have signs that you can easily identify. The website ‘Tree Help’ has an index for tree diseases. They claimed that some infections such as Armillaria Root Rot can be identified when the normal color on leaves begins to dull in seasons other than fall.

Some of the major branches can die or excessive wilting. If this disease infects a fruit tree, you may notice a lack of fruit being produced. Other infections such as cankers appear dark and sunken on a tree trunk or major branches.

In the region of the cankers, the bark around it dies or breaks off. If an infection spreads, it can cause dieback. This due to the vascular system being cut off. Some infections, such as blights, can cause brown leaf spots. With these, some signs may not be drastic, but they’re still there!

Oak wilt is another sign of infection. It is almost always lethal and can be spotted by identifying excessive dieback or breakage. With these infections ready to attack at any moment, how do you keep up with your tree care to prevent infections? Tree Help’s section about tree disease tells us that most tree infections can be treated.

A lot of infections can be treated and be prevented from spreading even more. Remove dead trees and as much of the infected roots as possible. When planting the trees, make sure to keep the proper spacing between the trees. This is especially helpful when there is a risk of bacterial blight.

A fungicide may come in handy. Use a fungicide on your infected trees to reduce the infection. When using fungicides or any treatment on plants, use protective gear such as gloves and goggles.

One overlooked tree care method is sanitizing your gardening tools. As humans, we have to keep things clean and sanitized to keep from getting sick, it’s the same way for trees!

Another tree care method is letting tree roots breathe. It sounds very silly, but it is important! Remove a few inches of soil away from the roots and to help air circulation. It’s important to keep up with proper tree care to prevent infections and keep your trees looking nice!  Use all the knowledge you’ve learned to ensure you have the best and healthiest trees in town!