What is the Deadliest Tree Disease?

large tree covered in leaves

What tree diseases are common in the area?

Property owners value their trees here, as they do anywhere else in the country. We plant them, feed them, water them, prune them, and battle the possibility of numerous tree diseases when needed.  Like the human body, many tree diseases can stunt the growth, even kill a tree. That leads many people to wonder what kind of tree diseases are in Fort Worth, TX?

What are the most common tree diseases?

There are different categories of tree diseases, with most of them being fungal foliar diseases. Some of these can be lethal and others just make the trees ugly. To make it more challenging how to treat tree diseases, we need to know the difference between a treatable tree disease, a chemical injury, or an insect-caused tree disease.

The different categories of tree diseases include: 

  • Needle Rusts: Harmless to the tree and grows on the needle’s surface. 
  • Needle Casts: Forms and grows inside the needles, causing the needles to shed.
  • Needle Blights: Forms and grows inside the needles, which can cause the tree to die if not treated. 
  • Hardwood Leaf Tree Diseases: There are different types of foliar hardwood tree diseases and is one example of chemical injury and insect injury mimicking some tree diseases. This type of tree disease is often related to the weather, making it difficult to prevent and treat. The best prevention is raking and destroying the leaves that fall. 
  • Anthracnose Tree Diseases: This is a fungal tree disease that mostly affects the leaves and sometimes the stems.  Damage can be severe, and there are minimal ways to minimize the damage.  
  • Rust Tree Diseases: These are fungal diseases, affecting hardwood tree leaves, a common problem that typically isn’t serious.\
  • Leaf Spotting: Leaf spotting on trees isn’t an important issue for the overall tree, but it can make the tree ugly.  
  • Tar Spotting: Tar spotting tree diseases are found on maple and sycamore trees and isn’t actually “tar” but is a fungal disease. Rarely a detriment to the tree’s overall health but can cause the tree to prematurely defoliate. 
  • Powdery Mildew: A common plant and tree disease that is easy to recognize with a white patch or spot that appears like talcum powder. Powdery mildew tree diseases are more severe in dry, warm, weather with the succulent tissue being the most susceptible.
  • Leaf Blistering: Oak leaf blistering is caused occurs on most oak trees. Visible by a quarter-inch to half-inch spots on the leaves that turn a light green as the leaves expand. 

Other types of tree disease include pine stem tree diseases like rust, and hardwood stem tree diseases like black knot, cankers, decay, and wilt. 

What is the deadliest tree disease?

As with foliar and stem tree diseases, it is the diseases that afflict the fungal tree roots.  These types of tree diseases are typically lethal in the long term because they impact the tree’s ability to absorb water from the soil. Some of the more deadly tree root diseases include: 

Pine Root Tree Diseases

  • Annosum Root Rot: A problem most common in Arkansas,  but any area that has well-drained sandy soil is prone to Annosum Root Rot. 
  • Loblolly Pine Decline:  Referred to as LPD, is the result of the combination of disease problems, pest problems, and poor conditions converging, most common in older trees or trees that are stressed. 
  • Littleleaf Tree Diseases: Referred to as LLD, this tree disease primarily affects shortleaf pine with infected roots. 

Can diseased trees be saved?

Sometimes, yes, diseased trees can be saved if the disease is caught early. It requires proper pruning and trimming. Proper and timed fertilizing may be needed to bring the tree to a healthy level.  A tree with severe root and trunk problems cannot be saved and will need to be removed so as not to allow the disease to spread. 

Think of tree diseases as being similar to minor ailments like those experienced by humans when they get the common cold. If the disease isn’t addressed early on, it can lead to more problems like limb damage and an emerging pest infestation. 

Can tree diseases be prevented? 

Just as keeping the common cold at bay within your home, an ounce of prevention with your trees is the best way to avoid experiencing diseased trees. Some recommended steps for preventing tree diseases are: 

1. Remove Visible Deteriorated Shrubs and Trees

To prevent diseases from spreading to the healthy trees, you need to prune the limbs and remove any decay. Any tree that is dead should be removed. If you’re not sure a tree is dead, the services of a professional, licensed arborist or tree service are recommended. 

2. Keep A Clean Garden 

On a routine schedule, walk the perimeter of your landscape and check the condition of the plants, shrubs, and trees. As you become familiar with your garden and landscaping, you’ll become more observant of color or condition changes. Remove any fallen leaves to keep the garden clean and prune the affected branches and trees to contain any infected organisms.

3. Use Fungicides and Insecticides.

Spraying the trees within your landscape with a fungicide is a preventive measure in stopping diseased trees like fire blight, oak wilt, and other diseases. Using an insecticide will prevent diseases from spreading, killing any bugs and their eggs which will prevent spreading any contamination.

4. Keep Gardening Tools Clean

Your garden tools can collect any contaminating organisms and debris as you work your garden and landscaping. After each service, spray or wipe clean all the tools, including pruners, rakes, shovels, etc.). Using alcohol or bleach will thoroughly clean any disease from plants and trees, which will prevent plant and tree diseases from spreading. 

In Closing

In addition to the tips that we listed above, having a professional Arborist inspect your trees annually can be a huge benefit, the same as having annual inspections on the HVAC system or your roof. These annual inspections will allow you to stay on top of your landscape, allowing you to respond immediately to possible problems like tree diseases. In Fort Worth, TX, if you need to reach out to someone to take care of your diseased trees you can always call the professionals on our team. Reach out at (817) 717-7737 when you need assistance.