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Ten Common Tree Diseases

tree diseases

Keeping your trees alive is really the only thing you’re responsible for, as a tree owner. Which, if you can manage to keep its water and fertilizer needs tended to, is mostly a straightforward process.

But tree diseases can change all of that. Infecting seemingly at random, these sicknesses can kill off your tree entirely. And, if you don’t know what you’re doing, it can be incredibly difficult to get them back under control.

Today, we’ll be taking a closer look at the top ten diseases, and what they look like, so that you know when to call in a professional to nurse them back to health.

Ready to get started? Let’s go!

tree diseases

Fusiform Rust

Fusiform rust is one of the most serious pine diseases found anywhere in the Southern United States. Stemming from the tree fungus pathogen cronartium quercuum, it is typically found in loblolly pine and slash pines.

Infections will typically exhibit as swellings that may seem depressed or canker-like, and often cause stem breakage.

Apple Scab

This is an extremely common disease among trees, and is also aesthetically devastating. It can be identified by velvety spots on the leaves, which turn brown and then black with age. Leaves may also pucker and curl, and the disease may mangle and crack fruit, as well.

Brown Spot Needle Blight

Brown spot needle blight, caused by mycosphaerella dearnessii is a disease that affects pine trees. It’s a condition that turns needles brown or burnt red, and creates spots that turn into bands of color, killing the needle. Needles drop out in large numbers, making branches look bare and sickly.

Oak Wilt

These tree diseases, also known as ceratocystis fagacearum, are found in oak trees. Symptoms include leaf discoloration, wilting and defoliation. Perhaps predictably, the ultimate end result of these symptoms can be as severe as death.

Dutch Elm Disease

Elm trees affected by Dutch elm disease can suffer from a range of symptoms. Leaves turn yellow and can fall out, out of season. Spotted along the sapwood of a tree where the bark has been removed, brown streaks can be seen along wilted branches. Different trees are susceptible in different ways, which means the spread of yellow discoloration from leaves down branches can take place at different rates.

Annosus Root Disease

Also known as annosus root rot, or ARR, this condition affects connifers. A combination of stringy white rot, pine stands with clusters of dead or dying trees, splashes of discolored or rotten sections of pine needles, and resin soaked root areas all indicate ARR.

Laurel Wilt

Raffaelea Lauricola or Laurel Wilt, originally native to Asia, is a fungal disease with distribution across the Southern United States. Look for black vascular discoloration and, obviously, rapid wilting, as well as defoliation.

Westwood And Slime Flux

When dealing with Westwood and Slime Flux, keep in mind that these are actually vastly misunderstood tree diseases. As an internal bacterial infection in the wood, symptoms of Westwood and Slime Flux typically show as seeping rivulets of fermented sap, running down from “wounds” in the trunk.


These water molds cause damage to the plants they form on, and can decimate large crops, as well as natural ecosystems. Symptoms include purpling and reddening of older leaves, indicating a deeper rotting in the root system.

Ganoderma Butt Rot

These are considered relatively new tree diseases, but Ganoderma Butt Rot (caused by the Ganoderma zonatum tree fungus) is considered lethal in the Florida palm community. The disease originates in wounds at the base of the tree, before working its way up through the trunk, which it rots from the inside out.

Tree Diseases: And Now You Know

With a little insight and a lot of tree care, it’s possible to keep your trees in great condition for your entire life. But, when sicknesses begin to creep in, it’s important to know what signs you’re looking out for, and to respond quickly.

Interested in tree maintenance services? Get in touch with us and do yourself and your tree a favor, today.

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