Tree Health 101: Common Diseases and How to Spot the Signs

beautiful canopy

Like other living beings, trees can also develop diseases. They also need nutrients to grow well and flourish. You’d notice an unhealthy or sick tree by its discolored leaves, brittle branches, and peeling barks, among several other signs. Neglecting these signs could cost you the life of your precious tree.

If you’re planning to have a landscape garden built in your backyard in Lehi or any other place, the first thing you should do is know which trees grow well in your soil and climate. Selecting unsuitable trees may result in headaches and frustrations because they won’t grow well or might get sick often. On garden maintenance and tree care concerns, reaching out to experienced arborists who offer tree fertilization and other tree care services will definitely be beneficial.

That said, here’s how to properly inspect a tree and spot signs of diseases.

1. Check the Colors, Shapes, and Sizes of the Leaves

Numerous trees change leaf color every season, so check if the leaves of yours are in the color for the current season. Most deciduous trees’ leaves are green in the spring and summer, and yellow, orange, or red in the fall. If you’re raising evergreen trees, they should have green needles all year-round.

Yellow or variegated leaves could indicate that your tree lacks water and proper nutrients unless your tree naturally grows those leaf colors. Stunted or irregularly shaped leaves are also signs of insufficient nutrients, pesticide damage, insect damage, or disease.

2. Inspect Growth Each Year

Trees grow every year, and you’d notice it from the scars on the branches and expansion of the trunk. Research on how tall the trees you planted should grow and assess yearly if they’re progressing. The distance between the current season’s buds and last year’s should lengthen every year, and the trunk’s thickness should expand yearly as well. To help you determine if the trunk is thickening, keep a record of their measurements.

person holding a small plant

3. Check the Trunk

Tree trunks should not peel unless they’re birch, eucalyptus, and maple trees. If you notice cracks, holes, moss, and fungi, they could indicate poor tree health.

Common Tree Diseases

Anthracnose is a common tree disease that usually attacks dogwoods, American sycamores, black walnuts, and white oaks. Spores produced by multiple types of fungi cause this disease. Anthracnose is especially prevalent in rainy seasons because the spores need wet weather to spread. Leaf blights are a common symptom, which are discolored patches or dead areas on the leaves.

Root decay is also a common severe condition of a tree, causing diseases or even death. Fungus and broken roots are common indicators of this problem. If your tree easily gets blown over by wind or topples over without force, then root decay is also the likely cause.

Another common and grave tree disease is called chestnut blight fungus. Like Anthracnose, the spread of fungus spores also causes this. You’d recognize this deadly disease from the fungus shaped like orange curl horns. No cure has been found yet, so it’s extremely crucial to monitor your American chestnut trees, especially during moist weathers when the disease is prevalent.

Tree Disease Prevention

Pruning dead and broken branches can prevent diseases. This is because such branches can attract insects and other disease-causing bacteria and elements. Tending to bare patches, particularly in evergreen trees, will also maintain a tree’s health. Bare patches may be caused by insect damage, pesticide damage, improper pruning, animals eating the needles, or diseases. Contact an expert to cure bare patches before the problem becomes worse.

Staying informed will also help in preventing tree diseases. You can consult tree experts or study on your own to know the right practices of raising trees. Remember that trees are also living and breathing beings, and they clean the air we breathe in, so we should return the favor by keeping them healthy and strong.

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