Cool Wet Conditions Encourage Fungal & Bacterial Disease
April 22, 2013
With plants putting on a flush of tender spring growth and the cool moist weather conditions, you’ll need to be on the watch for fungal leaf spots, canker diseases and even bacterial diseases like fire blight. The current environmental conditions are perfect for bacteria and fungi to reproduce and easily find a home within the foliage moisture of tender young leaves.
Leaf blights are a common disease you’ll see in cool wet weather conditions in spring. Anthracnose diseases are some of the most common. Trees such as dogwood, oak, maple, ash, sycamore and others are all affected by the disease. However, each tree species is affected by a different strain of the fungus.
While each fungal disease has its own set of symptoms, basic things to look for on your trees include brown or black spots and blotches on the leaves. Often, infected leaves will begin dropping from the tree as the disease develops. While trees like oak, maple and ash can generally push through such leaf blight diseases (unless they are under other stresses), trees such as dogwood and sycamore can be more intensely affected. Dogwood Anthracnose is often fatal if trees are infected for several years. Pears and apples are especially susceptible to bacterial fire blight, and oaks are often victims of canker diseases.
There are some cultural practices that can help cut down on such leaf blight and other fungal and bacterial diseases. Planting trees so that they are not crowded and receive good air circulation is critical. Sufficient water, nutrients and prevention of mechanical injury will help keep your tree’s immune system strong. You should also rake infected dead and fallen leaves and remove them from the area to prevent spread of fungal spores.
Pruning of infected stems and branches may be required in some situations, especially with fire blight, in combination with the proper disease treatment. Our expert certified arborists can perform an overall health assessment for your trees this spring and diagnose any potential disease issues. Read more about our Tree Health services HERE.