Tree service professionals of Pennsylvania discuss a common tree disease and what to do about it.
Unsightly Leaf Spot and What it Means for Trees and Plants
Trees, especially broad-leaved deciduous trees, are prized for their shade. They increase property value and curb appeal, and they are good for the environment. They are often considered to be an aesthetic statement when placed as a specimen for their brightly-colored fall foliage. All varieties of maple trees (sugar, red, silver) and oak trees are hardy in this area and easy to care for. But what if their leaves start getting spots, curling up, and dying? They may be affected by leaf spot.
What Exactly is Leaf Spot?
The umbrella term “leaf spot” covers a large number of tree diseases. The main symptom of these various infections is spots on the leaves. Even the spots are different depending on the type of leaf spot. Leaf spot can sometimes indicate something that is harmful to the tree, but other times is merely an aesthetic problem that will resolve when the leaves have fallen.
What is Causing the Spots?
Leaf spot or the appearance of spots on leaves can be caused by several different things, not all of which are actually a tree disease. It is always best to have a certified arborist inspect the tree to identify the type of problem you are dealing with.
The circumstances in which leaf spots occur are as follows:
- Bacteria: Some types of leaf spot are caused by bacterial infection. These can often lead to serious health problems for the tree.
- Fungus: Most leaf spot is due to fungal infections. Most of these kill some leaves, therefore causing defoliation, but this ends their life cycle and most trees are not harmed by this leaf loss.
- Pests: Sucking insects like aphids can make holes in leaves that appear like leaf spot, but are not. This is why having an arborist take a look is important. A misdiagnosis could be detrimental to tree health.
- Poor Tree Health Care: Over fertilizing and overwatering or not watering enough can make leaves start to turn yellow or brown.
- Storm Damage: Hail and wind can damage leaves to the point that they look infected, but this is just environmental wear and tear.
Keeping Trees Healthy and How To Deal With Leaf Spot
There are several valid strategies to use when dealing with leaf spot. Unfortunately, leaves that currently have the disease, no matter the cause, cannot be healed. They are going to die and fall from the tree. There are some ways to help prevent the problem and to help the tree be more resilient if it does get infected.
Some of these strategies include:
- Keeping the leaves dry.
- Watering with a soaker hose.
- Doing soil testing and using fertilizer if necessary.
- Pruning the infected branches
- Tree trimming to prevent overcrowding that can spread the infection.
- Using an anti-fungal spray to treat the specific spore that is spreading.
What a Tree Service Company and an Arborist Can Do for You
The tasks listed above are all part of tree care, and even more than tree removal, that is what arborists are all about. They can identify the fungus for you and will be able to tell you if it is just an aesthetic problem or if it may become a life-threatening issue for the tree. If they perform a tree risk assessment and find problems, they will be able to do the proper amount of tree pruning for tree health, or can remove it quickly and efficiently if necessary.
About Greater Pitt Tree Service
Greater Pitt Tree Service LLC has proudly served the Greater Pittsburgh, PA Area for more than a quarter century. We did your neighbor’s tree, so call us for a free quote.