Healthy and happy shade trees are one of the best ways to boost the overall value of your property. On the other hand, diseased and/or sick trees will have a negative impact on your home. Thus it is important to do all you can to keep your trees in good condition. This article will help to boost your preventative care skills by discussing the all too common tree disease known as anthracnose.
Anthracnose is not so much a single disease as it is a single set of symptoms. The actual cause of these symptoms may be one of a number of different species of fungi, each of which will predominantly afflict a particular type of tree. Especially vulnerable tree species include:
- black walnut
As you can see from this list, anthracnose represents a significant threat to virtually all of the major American shade trees. For that reason, it is especially important that you know how to identify its symptoms.
The first sign of anthracnose will generally be small brown spots that start to form on the tree's leaves. These spots will not follow any particular pattern or shape, though they do tend to cluster near the leaf's veins. They may have a pronounced affect on younger leaves, causing them to curl up or become otherwise deformed. A severe anthracnose infestation will eventually cause the tree to begin losing affected leaves in the spring.
You may also be able to identify anthracnose by looking closely at fresh shoots. These will often present one of two signs: tiny orange blisters, or brown rings encircling the twig. These signs can be most commonly found when dealing with anthracnose on ironwood and oak trees.
As when dealing with any tree disease, the most important thing you can do is ensure that the tree is not suffering from any undue environmental stresses as well. Water it regularly during dry weather, and consider fertilizing the soil around it as well. Be careful not to directly wet the trunk or branches of the tree, as this may facilitate the spread of the disease.
When fall rolls around, it is also important to collect and destroy the leaves from trees infected with anthracnose. By doing so, you will prevent dormant fungal spores from exacerbating the disease next spring. You may also want to contact a professional arborist to help prune parts of the tree that show strong signs of anthracnose.