Do you see black spots on tree leaves? You’re right to feel worried; these leaf spots might indicate a fungal infection. Find out what to do from Eco Tree Experts, your tree service experts in West Palm Beach.
What Is Black Spot Fungus?
When you first learn about tree health, you discover that anything that causes tree leaves to turn yellow or change color can be dangerous. Black Spot Fungus attacks trees with fleshy stems and leaves. So, it can strike a rose bush or Maple tree with equal vigor.
It’s one of the most common diseases of shade trees and starts developing in the early spring. It takes hold when there’s not enough air circulation to dry the leaves for about six to nine hours a day.
You’ll see tiny black spots on tree leaves that develop a yellow ring around them. These grow until the whole leaf discolors and then dies.
How to Treat Black Spot Fungus
The good news is that the fungus doesn’t like daytime temperatures above 85 degrees. The bad news is that you can’t always afford to wait for the weather to heat up and kill it.
You do, however, have some options, such as:
- Call an expert for a definitive solution fast.
- Remove as many of the diseased leaves as possible and dispose of them away from your yard.
- Mix one heaped tablespoon of baking soda in one gallon of water and add a bit of horticultural oil or soap. (Neem oil works well at helping the baking stick and also killing the fungus.) Spray the affected area at least once a week.
- Try to prevent the leaves from getting wet, and focus your watering on the roots instead.
- Check the tree/s canopy for cluttering and trim it to improve air circulation if necessary.
Why Deal with This Infection Quickly?
You might think that you should wait until the weather heats up. The problem with this approach is that this fungus is airborne and water-borne. The spores spread quickly, making it a pernicious pest. It’ll defoliate a mature tree in a matter of weeks.
The dying down of the spots due to warmer temperatures is only a temporary reprieve. The spores will go dormant until the spring. Your tree can survive one or two seasons but will experience severe distress in the third year.
How to Prevent a Recurrence
Your best defense is to be vigilant. You should start checking the leaves on all your plants in the early spring and throughout the season. If you see those tell-tale spots, try to remove the leaves as quickly as possible. You should ideally burn them.
If you had a problem with this fungus the previous year, proactively treat it by spraying the leaves once a week.
When to Get Expert Advice
We recommend calling us sooner rather than later. It’s easy to misdiagnose the type of fungal infection, as many display similar symptoms. If the condition travels to the heartwood or roots, your tree will start to decay from the inside. When this happens, it’s often impossible to save the tree.
We know precisely what to look for, and we’ll also evaluate your tree’s current condition. A healthy tree will shrug off the infection by shedding leaves and probably come back strong the following year. A distressed tree might battle to recover without the proper support.