Thirsty trees are sick trees.
Much like the parent of a new baby, it’s your job as a tree owner to make sure your tree gets its minimum requirements to stay healthy and grow strong. And one of the more obvious requirements is water.
But what happens when your tree stops taking in water properly?
What do you do when Laurel Wilt stops the movement of water in your tree’s vascular system?
Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered!
Fungal diseases in trees can take many shapes and sizes. Sadly, that shape is never “good”.
Laurel wilt is a fungal disease that chiefly affects plants in the Laurel family. Small redbay ambrosia beetles carry it from tree-to-tree. The fungus behind it (Raffaelea lauricola) is aggressive, with one female beetle doing enough damage to level a tree.
It’s also responsible for the death of every mature redbay in affected areas south of North Carolina.
The disease, which isn’t even fatal under normal conditions, becomes problematic when these beetles bore into the tree. As these beetles bore in, the fungus infects the tree, spreading throughout its vascular system. The infection spreads and stops the movement of water through the vascular system.
No water means less nutrition to the tree’s extremities, which is obviously a problem.
Laurel wilt symptoms are fairly easy to spot.
Look out for wilted leaves and stems, to the extent that your plant begins to look sickly or like it can’t hold itself up.
Dark streaks in your wood are another bad sign.
Redbay ambrosia beetles create tiny holes in the tree that you’ll need to peel off the bark to be able to see. What you may see, instead, are small pegs of sawdust and beetle excrement, known as frass, at the entrances to these holes.
What makes laurel wilt truly insidious is that there are still no effective ways in which to treat it. With the lack of insecticides and budget-friendly fungicides, as well as DIY remedies, there’s not much to be done when this disease strikes.
So in a situation where your tree is as good as dead from the outset, your best option is keeping infected trees exactly where they are.
Don’t move dead host material. Don’t try to transport or move chips or tree debris to landfills. Don’t saw the tree down and wrap it up and try to move it under the cover of night. Leave it where it is!
Movement can and often does spread the disease-carrying host insect to new areas. It’s much easier than you might expect.
When laurel wilt does kill trees, the right way to dispose of them is by cutting the tree down and leaving it onsite. You may also bury or burn dead trees right there on site, so long as you adhere to state and local regulations.
After you’re done, all saws and equipment used to cut the affected tree should be cleaned and disinfected before you go on to use them elsewhere.
Fungal infections are the bane of every tree owner’s existence. Laurel wilt is no exception.
Hopefully, after today’s article, though, you’ve got all the insights you need to tackle this difficult problem head-on.
Interested in finding more great tree maintenance services, and arboreal insights? Get in touch with us, today, and get on top of your tree maintenance, with Tree Worx Florida.