Tree Diseases in Massachusetts

November 23rd, 2022 0 Comments

ash tree to illustrate tree diseases in Massachusetts

Identifying and treating tree diseases efficiently and effectively is an essential responsibility of any tree owner. Dead, diseased, or infected trees can be both aesthetically unpleasant and, more importantly, a safety hazard.

However, tree disease isn’t something the average person has extensive knowledge of! Luckily, a professional tree care company can assist you with a comprehensive tree inspection, and if needed, tree removal service.

Why Diseased Trees Must Come Down

You need to proactively deal with diseased trees. The reason is that any time a tree falls, it can pose a great danger to people and property. So, to minimize the risks of this happening without warning, you have to be ahead of the game.

That means recognizing your dead or weak, diseased trees before they fall.

Moreover, if a dead or dying tree threatens to take down power lines or fall onto a structure or property, it should come down as soon as you detect the threat.

There are, of course, instances when diseased trees fall before they can be removed safely. These unexpected events are usually devastating and might not have happened if tree disease had been managed more responsibly.

So – let’s have a look at which diseases you might find among your trees in Massachusetts. This will help you recognize the signs and take action. It’s all part of tree and plant care – and well worth it.

Common Tree Diseases In Massachusetts

  • Cedar Apple Rust: Identified by its orange and reddish color, a heavy infestation of this fungus can make a tree appear decorated for the holidays!
  • Rhododendron Leaf Spot: This dark and splotchy fungal infection can cause defoliation, weakening, and possibly death.
  • Rose Black Spot: A fungal disease characterized by black, or purple, infected leaves that fall prematurely.
  • Dogwood Anthracnose: This starts as leaf spots with tan or purple borders but eventually spreads into twigs and branches and can cause dieback of the limbs.
  • Tar Spot: Initially, this fungus disease appears as small yellowish dots but progresses to look like blobs of tar.
  • Marginal Leaf Scorch: When fungi or bacteria invade and plug the water-conducting vessels in the plant, this prevents sufficient water from reaching the outer leaf margin cells.
  • Dutch Elm Disease: The elm bark beetle spreads this disease that causes leaves in the outer crown of the tree to first turn yellow, wilt, and then turn brown.

Prevalent Fruit Tree Diseases in Massachusetts

  • Apple Scab: Dark spots or lesions on leaves and fruit that spread during rain or are carried by wind to infect nearby trees.
  • Sooty Blotch (Fly Speck): Green or brown spots on apples look like a scab on the fruit. The spots may affect attractiveness and market value, but they are harmless and don’t damage the fruit or reduce yield.
  • Powdery Mildew: Makes leaves appear as if they were dusted with flour. This disease can be spread by poor circulation – causing too much humidity – and also by the wind.
  • Fire Blight: A destructive disease that can destroy branches or even the entire plant. It starts in the spring as a watery liquid that oozes from holes or cankers in the bark. Affected flowers and leaves wilt and turn black but continue to hold onto the tree throughout the year, making the tree look scorched or burned. This disease can be transmitted to other limbs or trees by rain or insects.
  • Peach Leaf Curl: This infection appears as red areas on leaves that can cause leaves to look disfigured or curled. If enough leaves are infected, it can reduce the tree’s yield.

Prevalent Forest Diseases in Massachusetts

  • Hemlock Woolly Adelgid: This invasive insect sucks sap from hemlock needles, killing needles, shoots, and branches.
  • Emerald Ash Borer (EAB): Feeding on the ash tree’s nutrient transit system beneath the bark, this invasive beetle species is wreaking havoc across North American forests. This tree disease is currently incurable and is responsible for the loss of millions of ash trees.
  • Asian Long-horned Beetle: The insect feeds inside tree trunks and branches, creating tunnels as it feeds. Once infested, trees cannot recover and eventually die.
  • Beech Bark Disease: Caused by the beech scale insect, this infection appears as “white wool” on the trunks of infected trees. Trees are usually not killed but may be weakened.
  • Gypsy Moth: Rarely deadly, this particular caterpillar can feed on so many leaves that massive defoliation often results in completely stripped trees!

New Tree Disease on the Rise in Massachusetts

  • Beech Leaf

A tiny worm is responsible for this new disease that first appeared in Ohio in 2012. By 2020 it had made its way to Massachusetts and appeared in over 80 communities.

Luckily, the disease causes distinct markings on leaves that make it relatively easy to identify in affected trees.

The challenge, as with any new tree diseases, is that there’s still much we don’t know about it – or how to best manage and prevent it.

New Biological Disease Control is a Waiting Game

Sometimes the complexity of tree diseases makes it hard for experts to establish the best remediation plan. A good example is the rapid and devastating spread of Emerald Ash Borer disease across our northern forests.

The National Park Service estimates that there are seven to nine billion ash trees in North America. To date, Emerald Ash Borers have killed tens of millions of ash trees in 30 states. With scientists estimating that EAB’s ash tree destruction will cost billions of dollars nationwide, a massive effort has been focused on addressing the dangers of EABs.

Scientists are hopeful that the discovery of three different species of Asian wasp whose larvae feed on the larvae of the Emerald Ash Borer will be enough to suppress the rapid spread of EAB.

After first ensuring that the presence of the Asian wasps wouldn’t create additional problems, the Forest Service has been releasing the wasps. Initial field studies showed that EAB has declined, but it will take years of waiting and watching to be sure. While scientists are realistic that the approach wouldn’t wipe out EAB, it could reduce its status from being a forest killer to being a forest pest.

If you have ash trees on your property, keep an eye out for this disease.

Proactively Assess Trees for Disease

If you suspect any of your trees could be diseased, contact a professional tree care company. The experienced team at B&R Tree Service provides an extensive range of services, from a tree inspection to a tree removal service and everything in between.

Let’s talk about how our certified experts can provide the care your trees need to get back in shape and look their best.

Natick – (978) 369-6019

Charlton –(508) 248-9100

Shrewsbury – (508) 845-6111

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Tree Removal, Tree Services