Tree with invasive bugs

Common Tree Diseases You Want to Catch Early

Trees, just like people, can be affected by a number of different diseases. Some of these diseases may affect the look of the tree but aren’t deadly, while others can kill your trees if you don’t take steps to deal with them. In some cases, the best cure may actually be tree removal. You lose one tree, but you can stop the disease from spreading to others. Here are a few of the more common tree diseases that can cause a great deal of harm if you don’t catch and treat them early.

Cytospora Canker

Cytospora Canker is a type of canker disease that typically affects spruce, poplar, pine, and willow trees. One good thing about this disease is that it needs a way to get into the tree before it can affect it. This means trees that haven’t been damaged are typically safe from cytospora canker and other canker diseases. However, if your tree has been wounded, this pathogen can get into the bark. Once there, it affects the system that cycles nutrients through the tree.

If this blockage occurs in a branch, that branch will likely die. If it occurs in the trunk and becomes large enough, it can kill the entire tree. To prevent canker, you will want to have proper maintenance done on your trees and pay close attention to trees that have been damaged. Affected branches can be pruned away, but the pruning tools must be sterilized in between cuts to make certain they do not spread the disease.

Dothistroma Needle Blight

If you have a pine tree and have noticed that the tips of the needles have begun turning brown, the tree likely has dothistroma needle blight. This condition is caused by a fungus and affects a good number of different pine tree species. It can cause older trees to lose their needles and, if untreated, kill them. In younger trees, it can stunt their growth if it runs unchecked for too long.

To avoid needle blight, be sure to leave enough room between trees so that air can circulate. Also water the trees at their base to help prevent fungus from growing up and down the trunk.

Apple Scab

Apple scab affects apple trees as well as crab apple trees, pear trees, and mountain ash trees. The disease infects the fruit and the leaves, causing them to turn brown and then black before they die. Fruits that are infected by apple scab disease should not be eaten and will rot quickly. The disease causes the leaves to form what looks like a scab, so it can be fairly easy to notice. Unlike other diseases, apple scab typically doesn’t kill the tree, but it does result in rotten fruit and causes the tree to lose its leaves.

Cedar Apple Rust

Cedar apple rust is an interesting disease that affects both cedar trees and apple/crab apple trees. However, it requires both of these trees to complete its lifecycle. In the first year, this fungus begins growing on cedar trees. It can be difficult to detect because it’s not as active during this year. In the spring, the fungus creates spores that are picked up by the wind and blown up to a mile from the tree. If these spores land on an apple or crab apple tree, the fungus is able to enter the next phase of its life.

During this phase, the apple tree’s leaves and fruit start to develop bright yellow spots. The fruits and leaves can fall off the tree much earlier than they should. You may need to spray the tree several times with fungicides to kill the disease.


Many trees and shrubs can come down with anthracnose, though it hits flowering dogwood and sycamore the hardest. The fungus behind this condition damages the twigs, leaves, flowers, and even the fruits of the trees it infects. Unfortunately, the signs of anthracnose do vary from species to species. This can make it hard to easily diagnose. However, some common signs of anthracnose include the tree losing leaves early and twigs growing in tight, dense packs.

Dealing with tree diseases can be difficult, especially if you are uncertain what type of disease it is your trees have. If you don’t diagnose the condition correctly, it’s possible to use the wrong treatment and damage the tree even more. That’s why it’s important to contact the experts at A Touch of Class Tree Service before you take action. We will diagnose the condition and help you treat these issues quickly and effectively.

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