Most Common Tree Diseases

January 12, 2016 Blog Comments Off on Most Common Tree Diseases

Tree Diseases and Treatment

As a property owner, you should take the time to learn about the most common tree diseases in San Antonio. This lets you plan in advance so you can take precautions to protect your trees from these issues and recognize them early on. Even if you aren’t sure what is wrong with your trees, knowing that something isn’t right is a great start. This gives you time to contact an arborist and have them diagnose the issue for you. Learning the following information can let you ask more educated questions of the arborist and make it easier to identify a problem.

Fire Blight

Fire blight is a common tree disease among San Antonio plants, but luckily it doesn’t affect all trees equally. It tends to focus on pear and apple trees but can cause significant damage when it arrives. Fire blight gets its name from the way it affects the trees, causing them to appear as if they have been damaged by fire. Blossom blight is typically the first symptom that appears. During this stage, the blossoms on the trees may seem to be soaked in water or gray-green before quickly going to black or brown. Shoot blight occurs a few weeks after the petals fall and tends to be the most obvious sign of fire blight. This symptom involves the stems and leaves turning black or brown and bending over. The fruit may also be affected, turning shriveled, dark, and small if it is young when infected. If it is infected when older, the fruit may have black, brown, or red lesions.
Your arborist will be able to recognize these signs and diagnose your San Antonio trees with fire blight. You can minimize the risk by avoiding plants that are more susceptible to the disease. You can also prune away any branches and limbs with cankers and use a bactericide or fungicide suggested by your arborist.

Oak Wilt

Oak wilt is perhaps the most commonly occurring tree disease in San Antonio and it can spread quickly, becoming serious. It is caused by the Ceratocytis fagacearum fungus which invades the tree’s water-conducting system. It eventually disables this system of the tree, causing it to wilt and die. Any type of oak found in San Antonio can suffer from oak wilt although red oaks have the highest risk. Choosing white oaks will minimize the risk of oak wilt while live oaks have susceptibility somewhere between that of the other types.
Most San Antonio trees with oak wilt will die in one to six months after the leaves start to develop the yellow veins which then turn brown. Your arborist will probably need to send a sample from your tree to confirm that it does in fact have oak wilt. They can, however, get a good idea of whether it has this disease based on fungal mats, foliar symptoms, and tree mortality patterns. After diagnosis, your arborist will get rid of your infected trees. If the disease is caught early enough, they may be able to successfully treat it.

Fungal Conks

San Antonio trees are also prone to developing fungal conks. The conk is the fruiting body associated with wood-rotting fungus. It might be fleshy but is typically fibrous. These conks are the fungus’s way of reproducing and are typically found on bark wounds, cracks, or old branches. The disease spreads as the conks generate fungal spores which spread. After diagnosing fungal conks, your arborist will try to remove the part of the tree that has the fungus before it can spread to other areas. In some cases, they may suggest completely removing the tree so the fungus doesn’t spread.

Other Tree Fungal Infections

There are typically four types of fungus that can infect trees. Butt and root rot diseases focus on killing the roots while causing the roots and trunks to decay. They hurt the structural integrity of your trees. Canker diseases infect bark tissue, leading to areas of the bark that are discolored or sunken. The disease will usually enter through branch stubs or wounds so it can be prevented with proper pruning. Shoot and foliar diseases can leave large blotches, small spots, or something in between on the needles and leaves or cause the entire shoots and leaves to die. Finally, vascular wilts interrupt with the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients, leading to a quick death.
Instead of treating fungal infections on San Antonio trees, arborists focus on preventing them from occurring in the first place. You can decrease the risk of infection by ensuring your tree is as healthy as possible. Follow your arborist’s advice regarding watering, fertilization, site selection, and which trees to plant.

What To Do About Tree Disease

Whether you are able to identify the disease affecting your San Antonio trees or simply know that something is wrong with your plants, you should contact an arborist at San Antonio Tree Surgeons. Our extensive training and knowledge allows them to diagnose the issue before it worsens. We can determine whether there is a risk of the disease spreading to other parts of the tree or to other plants on your property.
In most cases, a certified arborist will do whatever they can to preserve your tree, treating or removing the affected areas. If this is not possible, they may suggest removing the tree completely so it doesn’t infect other nearby trees.

Preventing Tree Disease

There are also some things you can do to prevent tree diseases in San Antonio. Start by making sure that you give your tree everything it needs to stay healthy, such as the proper amount of soil depth, water, and sunlight. If you notice any part of your tree is visibly decayed or dead, take the time to prune away the problem area and completely remove any tree that is completely affected. Remember that the roots will also have to be removed, which is why most people choose to use a tree service. You can also work with your arborists to choose the ideal fungicides and insecticides. Apply these to the trees and other plants on your property to prevent disease from reaching your trees.


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