Maple trees are known for their broad canopies and dense foliage. They make wonderful shade trees, and red maples, in particular, add a splash of color to your yard. Unfortunately, like all trees, maples are susceptible to a number of diseases. If your maple tree is looking a bit under the weather, the information below should help you figure out which disease is at fault.
Maple wilt is a fungal disease that can affect red maples, silver maples, and other maple varieties in the U.S. The fungi live in the soil and initially attack the tree via its root system.
Because the roots are responsible for providing the tree with water and nutrients, trees affected by maple wilt soon begin to show signs of decline. Sometimes, only a few branches are initially affected. Other times, the whole tree may be affected at once. The leaves will wilt and then drop to the ground.
No cure for maple wilt currently exists. If you catch the disease early, you can have a tree care expert trim away the affected branches, which can extend the life of the tree. However, most trees eventually succumb to the infection. Young trees die faster than older, more mature trees.
Tar spot is another fungal infection of maple trees. The fungi that cause it are spread by the wind. The primary symptom is the appearance of small, yellow spots on the leaves. The spots grow larger and darker over time, eventually taking on a tar-like appearance by autumn.
Tar spot is not typically deadly, but it can weaken a tree. To get the disease under control, make sure you rake up infected leaves promptly in the fall. Also, make sure the land around your maple tree drains well; trees in wet soil are at a higher risk for infection.
Fungicides are not always necessary to treat tar spot, but they can be helpful, particularly for younger trees that are heavily infected. Your tree care expert can spray the fungicides at bud break.
Phytophthora Root Rot
Phytophthora root rot is a condition in which a fungus-like organism invades the tree's roots, causing them to rot and deteriorate. The most obvious symptom is the appearance of large, bleeding wounds or cankers on the tree's exposed roots and butt. These cankers are often black in color, and they ooze reddish-brown goo. As the disease intensifies and starts interfering with the roots' ability to transport nutrients, branches start dying.
Phytophthora root rot is common when maple trees are planted in overly moist soil. Allowing your sprinkler irrigation system to wet your tree's trunk also increases the risk of disease. Phosphorus-based fungicides can sometimes bring the condition under control, but most trees do eventually die from the disease.
Anthracnose is a disease that affects many varieties of trees and plants, including maples. The primary symptom is the appearance of irregular black patches and spots on the leaves. Sometimes, the leaves also fall to the ground prematurely.
Thankfully, anthracnose is not as serious as it looks. Most trees recover on their own when the weather dries out again. To help fight the disease, you can have your tree trimmed to increase airflow through the branches. Fertilize your tree annually to boost its vigor, making it better able to fight off the infection. Mulching around the tree may also help.
If your maple tree is ailing, don't ignore the problem - take action. Contact AAA Tree Care Service to schedule an appointment. We offer tree trimming, removal, and more, and our knowledgeable experts can help you figure out what's wrong with your maple.