Thread: My trees have fungus, disease or bugs? Need help.

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  1. #1

    My trees have fungus, disease or bugs? Need help.

    So I've had these trees planted for approximately two years (planted in Fall of 2007). I placed fertilizer spikes in the ground that following Spring. I'm located in Southeast Missouri.

    Some of my trees had been exhibiting these problems during the summer months, now most, if not all are showing these problems. They all develop quite nicely in the Spring and early Summer, then begin to show the damage in the photos below mid to late Summer. I don't know if it's bugs, fungus, etc. Any help would be appreciated. The area is medium to well drained and full sun for all of the trees. I'd say on average we get a good amount of rain (maybe once a week).

    You can see in the picture below were most of the upper leaves have fallen off but a new set are starting to bud again.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Western NY, Zone 6

    RE: My trees have fungus, disease or bugs? Need help.

    This is not uncommon for newly-planted young maples. All but 2 of my newly-planted maples exhibited some foliage stress this summer, both my Autumn blaze maples were hit by a fungus earlier in the Summer which caused some blackening of newly-sprouted leaves, and my ADF red maple sapling was hit by fungus/aphids intermittently the past couple of months, but they are still growing vigrously. Neither of my container-purchased Red Sunset maples (both are now 12' tall) exhibited any signs of fungal or aphid issues this year, so they are probably just resistant to the fungal strains floating around out in my area.

    Water stress (over or under-watering) can also cause the same symptoms shown by your photos. If during any period of time the tree is unable to transport water to its leaves, they can become discolored and turn black around the edges. Under-watering is easier to correct, just give the tree sufficient water the rest of the season. Over-watering is more tricky to deal with, because sometimes it can mean that there is a drainage problem, therefore the tree may have trouble adapting to that site where it was planted. If you think the area where the Maple was planted has poor drainage, but it manages to survive into the Fall and the leaves drop as expected, you can safely transplant it to another location any time during the dormant months. Over-watering causes root rot, so believe it or not, symptoms are nearly identical to an under-watered tree as the rotted roots disrupt water transport to the foliage.

    If fungus is the problem, there will most likely be no long-term damage to the tree, it will be fine by next Spring. It's a bit late in the season to fertilize, but continue to maintain a once-a-week slow, deep watering during dry spells. If it rains regulary like it has in my area, you don't have to worry about keeping up with watering. A well-timed spray of dormant or horticultural oil just before bud break during the Spring months will protect the young Maples from fungus and insects that like to feed on newly-sprouted foliage (when the foliage is more tender).

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    east TN

    RE: My trees have fungus, disease or bugs? Need help.

    Lack of nutrients can look like that, and trees needing nutrients are also more likely to have problems with fungus. I can't see in your photos how large a mulched area you have around the base of the trees, but I do see alot of grass. The grass can take up the fertilizer and leave your trees without. You might try mulching out to a distance of 2 feet from the stem, and apply a low nitrogen fertilizer now, then a complete nutrient mix in the spring. Good luck!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Eastern PA

    RE: My trees have fungus, disease or bugs? Need help.

    Always do a soil test before adding fertilizer of any kind. Adding compost as ~ or under ~ mulch will generally provide all the nutrients needed.

    Green Man Enviroscaping LLC

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