Six of the Most Common Tree Diseases & Pests

Something that people tend to forget is just how vulnerable trees can be. Because they can live for centuries, we just assume that they can withstand almost anything, but it is in fact, quite the contrary. Trees can indeed be vulnerable to affliction and various diseases. Not only does this render them looking unattractive but dangerous and contagious to other trees surrounding it. This can have a terrible knock-on effect in the local ecosystem. As such, it is important to recognise these afflictions and to act on it as soon as possible. In some cases, this can lead to tree removal. If you require the assessment of a particular tree or need tree removal reports in Sydney & across NSW contact us on 0410 681 164

In this post, we’re going to identify some of the most common pests & diseases so that you can spot them before the issue gets out of hand. Let’s have a look…

1 – Cypress Canker

Over the past few years, Cypress Canker has been causing a riot in Australia, and so far, we can’t see any cure or form of prevention for it. This affliction is caused by a water-borne infection, it can also be airborne, or spread from certain pruning materials that are used on other plants. But what are “cankers?” Well, they appear as a deep red colour on branches, causing them to die rapidly (often as quickly as overnight). Following that, the dead branches will turn yellow, releasing spores through the minuscule black fungus. But don’t worry! If this is caught early enough, you may be able to salvage the tree. The infected areas will need to be removed entirely. If, however, you don’t catch it in time, then the tree will need to be removed and replaced. However, be certain not to replace the tree with another Cyprus, as is will be even more prone to cankers and you’ll have to go through the same issue all over again.

2 – Emerald Ash Borers

Emerald Ash Borers are little beetles which may well be wreaking havoc with your tree. If you spot the leaves on your tree turning yellow, well before autumn, followed by the branches dying, then this is a clear sign that this pest is present. The beetles “bore” into the bark of the tree, infecting the tree whilst building a web of tunnels inside. Any and all Ash trees are susceptible to these pests moving in and causing serious damage. Whilst there are indeed certain fungicides that can help to prevent infection, they’re not entirely reliable. Therefore, the only true “cure” for Emerald Ash Borers is having the infected tree removed altogether.

3 – Oak Wilt

Oak Wilt is a soil borne fungus that is typically spread via beetles. Like most others, this fungus is incredibly fast acting and can take as little as a season to destroy an entire tree. It is terribly infectious as well, spreading from oak tree to oak tree via the root system. That said, this makes it a little easier to control. Managing this type of disease involves separating the tree by digging a trench around it, cutting its roots off from the rest of the trees surrounding it. You can spot Oak Wilt by the rust-coloured, wilting leaves which occur during the season in which they should all be luscious and green. The moment you spot these symptoms, you should act immediately before the infection can spread.

4 – Citrus Gall Wasp

If you notice the branches on your Citrus tree bulging and swelling, then it could be a sign that the tree is afflicted with Citrus Gall Wasp. The infection is caused by a reaction between the tree and the Gall Wasps spawn. What happens is, they lay their eggs in the tree’s branches, and the infection occurs. And of course, the frustrating thing about this infection is that once those eggs hatch, more eggs will invariably be laid, causing the cycle to continue indefinitely. Unfortunately, there are no pesticides which can effectively take care of the Gall Wasps and prevent them from laying their eggs. As such, the only way that you can control them is by removing the swollen, bulging branches the moment you spot them.

5 – Anthracnose

Anthracnose is a fungal infection that can cause serious issues with growing leaves, leaving holes and causing significant defoliation. The fungus thrives in damp areas and particularly enjoys hiding under the foliage. If you’re fortunate enough to spot Anthracnose early enough, you can cut the infected areas off and burn the foliage. A great deterrent from such an infection is ensuring that when planting trees, you leave enough room for sufficient airflow, thus keeping the tree and foliage as dry as possible. Whilst that isn’t helpful for existing trees that suffer from damp, it will be handy for future saplings.

6 – Root Rot

Root rot is a pesky disease caused by a fungus that lives in the soil. That said, it is generally only present in little pockets of soil and won’t always necessary spread out and affect other nearby trees. This simplifies the process of controlling root rot; however, it is still one of the most common afflictions that trees face. You can easily spot root rot by the wilting leaves during the warm season. If you spot wilted leaves and can’t think as to what could be causing the problem, then root rot is the most likely candidate. In such an event, you should call your local arborist immediately to assist you. They will be able to treat the tree effectively and restore it back to full health.

If you’re unsure, always call for the professionals

As tree owners, it is our duty to act as caretakers in order to keep them fresh and healthy. If ever you’re unsure as to whether or not the trees on your property are as healthy as they could be, then we would highly recommend hiring the professionals to carry out a thorough assessment. You can also arrange to have regular site visits to ensure that any potential pests & infections are identified and remedied before they can kill the tree altogether. After all, the trees in our environment provide us with a regular source of clean oxygen, so it’s in our best interest to take extra good care of them!

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