Diagnosis Tree Issues

Anthracnose - what is it?

Tree Evaluation & Diagnosis of antracnose

This year has been particularly a very high moisture year for the plant life and landscape.  Water is one of the very most important and vital elements that trees need to survive.  To much water however, can also present potential fungal problems.  A common fungal disease that trees can get is anthracnose.  Observing trees in Northern Virginia, we have noticed an abundance of anthracnose present on many different tree species.

Generally each year, anthracnose can be found on Sycamore and Dogwoods.  This year however, we are noticing that it has affected many tree species.  Especially if a tree is located in a heavily moisture area.  Also, if a tree is in a shady area as well.  We have done many assessments this year from customers who call in saying their trees that don’t look good, commonly, the diagnosis is anthracnose.

What does anthracnose look like?

The good news is, most of the time if a tree looks overall healthy, and only has those crumbly looking brown leaves, the resolution is to leave that tree alone.  The anthracnose leaves will fall off, and the tree will usually come back just fine in the Spring.  There are many photos that you can find of anthracnose online.  Antracnose mostly only affects the leaves in a tree canopy, by turning them brownish and curling them over.  Sometimes the leaves can fall off and have early leaf drop.

What to do if a tree has anthracnose?

If a tree is diagnosed with anthracnose, the best thing to do for the surrounding plant life is remove the fallen infected leaves and get them away from the rest of the trees.  Anthracnose is a soil born fungus, and it is near impossible to remove the spores from the soil.  The most disturbing issue of this fungal disease is for farmers on fruit trees.  Protecting fruit bearing trees and minimizing spread of the fungus can be a challenge.

Since our company only services Northern VA, DC, and Md, we do not generally have to deal with fruit trees and farming.  We mostly observe native deciduous trees such as;

  • Poplar, Sycamore, Maple, Oak, Hickory, Dogwood, and other trees diagnosed with antracnose.

Unless a tree has other host issues such as root rot, canker, blight, or another underlying problem, we generally inform our customers to reassess the tree in the spring.  As stated earlier, this year anthracnose has definitely been very common among trees, mostly due to all the rain and moisture we have had.

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