Tree Blights – Symptoms, Disease Groups & Control

In this article, we’ll be discussing tree blights and what to do after discovering these symptoms.

Trees can be plagued with many diseases resulting in varying conditions ranging from mild to severe damage. Tree blights are diseases caused by bacteria or fungal infections.

Common symptoms include spotting, severe leaf yellowing, browning, and dying of leaves.

What more? There may be further deterioration of flowers, stems, fruits, and even the entire tree. Here, it’s clear that immediate and early treatment is required to help the tree recover from blight diseases.

Tree Blight Symptoms

Identifying tree blight conditions requires understanding what the symptoms are.

Such symptoms help point to the problem. Trees with this condition will likely show signs and symptoms like cankers, sunken bark, bacterial ooze, stained sapwood, and wilting leaves.

Also, you’re likely to notice wilted and wet flowers and infected fruits. Stating these symptoms alone won’t give an accurate picture of the problem.

We’ll have to briefly discuss each to help you gain a fair idea of how they appear.

  • Cankers

Trees with cankers are easily identified through dead sections of bark. These may be noticed on the trunk section or tree branches.

It’s due to bacterial or fungal presence. All sorts of adverse conditions result. Such include a weakening of the tree and stunted growth, among others.

  • Sunken Bark

Have you recently noticed a sign of sunken bark on your trees? It may be a tree blight symptom that needs further investigation.

As the name implies, the bark of infected trees sinks inwards but also cracks, thus making it easy to peel off. When noticed, look for other signs before calling for treatment.

  • Bacterial Ooze

Tree blights lead to conditions where liquid oozes from different points on the tree. This may be seen around the trunk, twig, or branch areas.

As it emerges from the tree, the liquid turns brownish or black. This clear red flag requires urgent action to address the problem.

  • Stained Sapwood

Stained sapwood typically arises from the bacterial ooze coming out from the tree. By taking a close look at the sapwood beneath the bark, it’s mainly found to be stained.

It’s a no-brainer to figure out that bacterial ooze stained such. Again, this isn’t normal and points to tree blight.

  • Wilting Leaves

Another way you can identify a tree blight problem is from wilting leaves, especially those on affected branches or sections of the tree.

The unnatural discoloration of these leaves gives further confirmation of a blight problem. Instead of falling off, these leaves remain in place.

  • Wilted & Wet Flowers

Apart from leaves, flowering trees are also likely to have wilted flowers. Such flowers first become wet before waning. Like the leaves, withered flowers remain on the tree.

When this is observed, it’s a clear sign of trouble and requires urgent action to fix the problem.

  • Infected Fruits

Tree blight isn’t restricted to leaves and flowers alone. It goes as far as infecting fruits. You might notice a dehydrated and discolored fruit.

This condition is abnormal and requires urgent action to fix the problem. You’ll have to call a pro to have your trees inspected and treated.

Tree Blight Diseases and Control

It’s important to state that tree blights are a group of diseases that could plague a tree. We’ll need to identify each condition and its primary symptoms to fully understand what they’re about.

They include Dothistroma blight, fire blight, diplopia blight, sycamore anthracnose, verticillium wilt, and Dutch elm disease.

Other forms of tree blight include chestnut blight and, anthracnose & leaf spot diseases. Let’s briefly discuss this disease group to gain more insight into their development.

i. Dothistroma Blight

This type of disease is common with pine trees, irrespective of variety. Not only does it affect average growth, but it can also kill the tree when not treated immediately.

Arborists often recommend completely removing an infected tree to prevent further spread to neighboring trees.

ii. Fire Blight

This blight disease is commonly found on pears, apples, and orchard trees. One known fact about this disease is that it affects fruit production. The good thing is that the condition can be treated.

You’ll have to call for professional help with treatment.

iii. Diplodia Blight

Diplodia blight is another disease within the tree blight disease that primarily affects conifer trees.

Trees infected by this disease are mostly found to show stunted growth of new shoots. Development of new shoots may also be stopped entirely, with brown shoots appearing.

iv. Sycamore Anthracnose

This fungal disease primarily affects tree varieties like sycamore, oaks, and dogwood.

The continued presence of this disease on affected trees will eventually lead to complete damage to the tree. You may notice dead areas of the tree in addition to leaf spotting.

v. Verticillium Wilt

Also called maple wilt, the verticillium wilt mainly attacks maple trees.

It grows in the soil and, from there, affects the tree. As this tree disease progresses, it eventually kills off significant portions of branches.

Leaf browning will also be readily noticed.

vi. Dutch Elm Disease

Another tree disease within the tree blight group is the Dutch elm tree disease.

Like all diseases mentioned, this requires urgent action to fix the problem before it worsens. A licensed arborist is the person to call to treat this disease.

vii. Chestnut Blight

Chestnut blight is a fungal disease that primarily targets the American chestnut tree.

Since its emergence, measures have been implemented to eliminate the disease. All you have to do when faced with this condition is a call for professional help.

viii. Anthracnose & Leaf Spot Disease

Hardwood trees are worse-hit with this disease. When left to spread, it eventually kills affected trees. At this stage, the dead tree will have to be removed entirely.

These are blight diseases that can affect your trees. It’s essential to avoid DIY interventions and call for professional treatment.

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