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Know which fungal diseases to look out for on your trees this fall, such as signs of Dutch elm disease, pictured above.

Are Your Trees Victims to Fall Fungal Diseases?

October 9, 2014

Summer has ended and fall is ready for its time to shine. This change of seasons typically brings rainfall and cooler temperatures. Wet, moist soil and chilly temperatures create the perfect breeding ground for fall fungal diseases on our trees.

So, what happens if you find your trees are suffering from a fungal disease or infection this fall? The first step is to know what the symptoms look like. Then, determine how to best reverse the health of your tree before winter.

Here is a list of fungal diseases to be on the lookout for in your region this fall:


  1. Dutch elm disease

Common victims: elm trees

Symptoms include: premature yellowing and wilting of foliage; branch dieback


  1. Verticillium

Common victims: woody ornamental trees; Maple, redbud, magnolia, dogwood, azalea and locust trees

Symptoms include: leaf curling; drying, small yellow foliage; slow growth; wilting foliage on entire branches, often on one side of canopy


  1. Anthracnose

Common victims: sycamore trees; London and oriental plane trees are less susceptible

Symptoms include: small black dots on bark and twigs; crinkling and browning leaves; “witches’ brooms” at ends of branches

To help combat this disease: always remember to rake fall foliage to reduce further spreading of anthracnose


Powdery mildew, a fungal disease that most commonly affects dogwood trees.


  1. Powdery mildew

Common victims: dogwoods

Symptoms include: white, powdery material on the upper surface of leaves; twisted, deformed foliage

To combat this disease: prune infected branches and encourage air movement so the foliage dries out quickly


  1. Oak anthracnose

Common victims: oak trees

Symptoms include: discolored, distorted leaves usually on lower portions of the canopy; stress on oak trees; dead leaves


  1. Fusarium wilt

Common victims: palms in Florida and Texas

Symptoms include: known as “one-sided wilt” because one half of the frond will have a wilted crown or branches



  1. Needlecast diseases

Common victims: conifers including spruce, Douglas fir and Austrian pine; spruce

Symptoms include: discolored, dropping needles; tiny, spore-forming structures on needles;

browning needles on lower branches; dropping needles in the early fall or spring

To combat this disease: plant conifers where they will receive abundant sun and good air circulation


  1. Fire blight

Common victims: apple, crab apple and pear trees

Symptoms include: blighted shoots will turn brown; milky bacterial ooze from surface of diseased tissue; branches die back and remain on tree with dead tips

To combat this disease: This disease typically appears in the spring/summer growing season, but the fall and winter presents the perfect time to prune infected trees, which can help reduce the spread of fire blight.



  1. Foamy bark canker disease

Common victims: live oaks

Symptoms include: wet, discolored spots that seep through entry holes; reddish sap that is followed by a foamy liquid that may ooze


  1. White pine blister rust

Common victims: white pine; sugar pine; limber pine

Symptoms include: yellowing or blistering bark; slender, brown bristles appearing on the underside of leave in the early fall


If you believe your tree is suffering from a fungal disease, contact your local, professionally trained Davey arborist for a free consultation.

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