The Diagnosis and Treatment of a Sick Tree

Tree disease control is one of the most important activities in forestry. This is because forests suffer from nutrient deficiencies, multiple pathogens, and pest invasions. No matter the inducing cause, tree diseases threaten the health of the forest and negatively impact any related industry.

Tree Pests and diseases are a huge problem for any related business, from harvesting to environmental aspects. Moreover, everyday people are also affected since healthy trees translate to a healthy population. For this reason, regular and properly diagnosing and treatment of sick trees are an integral part of any tree service provider. 

Different Tree Diseases

The diagnosis of the most common tree diseases considers the signs and symptoms involved. Signs are the changes you notice in trees produced by pathogens such as white rust. Symptoms are how the trees suffer from an infection. This may include decay, crown thinning, wilt, or defoliation, among others. 

Tree Leaves Disease

These types of diseases affect foliage, as the moniker suggests. Fungi are the main cause of these foliar infections, although the signs and symptoms may be similar to the chemical impacts of an insect infestation. This can complicate the diagnosis of tree leaf disease and treatment options.

Tree leaf disease affects both hardwoods and conifers, with severity being the main difference. Some can cause mortality, while others result in moderate harm.

Hardwood Leaf Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment

 Fungi are the main culprit for infections of hardwood trees, with no particular tree disease treatment. It is commonly managed by eliminating and destroying the affected leaves.

Leaf Rusts

This is a non-dangerous tree disease that is fairly common. It poses no significant threat unless it negatively affects growth by causing early leaf sheds. It causes yellowish spots on the upper part of the leaf with powdery spores. It affects plum, poplar, cottonwood, birch, maple, and willow species.


This infection exposes burnt foliage and leaf necrosis of abnormal shapes that could also affect stems. It mainly affects oak, hickory, birch, and walnut. It is a disease that may cause serious damage and is difficult to deal with. This is especially true during the wet spring season when the weather is fungi-friendly.

Tar Spots

The Rhytisma fungi colonizing the maple sycamore and maple proper species cause this tree leaves disease. Its symptoms include light green or yellow-green spots from late spring to early summer. By the late summer, tar-like formations appear. They do not cause mortality, but the tree’s growth is negatively impacted due to leaves sheds. 

Leaf Spots

The main culprits of the diseases are fungi such as Mycoshaerella, Actinopelte, Phyllosticta, Septoria, and parasitic algae. Brownish spots on the leaves often characterize these tree diseases. The most affected species are poplar hybrids. Cool, wet spring weather is conducive for them to thrive.

Tree Root Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment

These diseases affect the lower stem and roots of both hardwood and evergreen tree species. They have a higher mortality rate than bark or leaf infections because they interfere with nutrient and water absorption. Proper tree disease diagnosis for root infections can be quite difficult. It develops in the concealed part of the tree and is only noticeable when the damage starts showing.

Pine Root Disease

Loblolly pine decline, annosum root rot, and littleleaf disease are the most common root conditions affecting conifers.

Loblolly Pine Decline

This root infection affects loblolly pine due to a negative combination of factors such as disrupted tree health, pests, and poor land conditions. It mostly occurs in drought-subjected regions.

Although the conditions make the tree resistant to pest infestations, they are susceptible to bug infections, with bark beetles being the leading culprit. They not only destroy the host tree by feeding and breeding on it, but they also transfer the Leptographium pathogenic fungi that deteriorate tree roots. Thin crowns and shed yellow needles are the symptoms of this infection.

Treatment Options

While there is no definitive treatment for the disease, a few control measures are effective:

• Planting more resilient tree species.

• Eliminating declined trees.

• Dealing with drought stress.

Annosum Root Rot

It occurs due to the Heterobasion annosum fungus and is common in Arkansas pines. It finds its way into the host tree through fresh wounds cuts, developing sponge-like formations, and eventually attacks the roots.

Treatment Options

• Spraying borax to fresh cuts on stumps.

• Checking for bark beetles, especially during summer thinning.

• Thinning the pine stands when temperatures soar beyond 70F in summer. It creates unfavorable thriving conditions for fungus spores.

• Planting with ample spacing.

Tree Bark Diseases: Diagnosis and Treatment

Like most pathologies, tree bark diseases are often induced by fungi. But their severity depends on the affected tree part. Infections in a tree branch are less threatening since you can treat them by removing the branch and other dead branches. However, there is little you can do if the tree’s healthy status is compromised when the disease reaches the vascular system. In such an instance, the tree dies.  


It is a common evergreen tree disease that can be deadly for young trees due to trunk galls. Treatment and prevention of its spreading involve removing the affected tree branches. However, mature trees can manage well if the disease does not touch the central stem.


This is a bark condition with necrotic areas. Pathogenic fungi penetrate through bark cracks or injuries like fire burns, artificial cuts, and others. When multiple cankers weaken a branch, chemical treatment is not effective. Pruning becomes the best option. However, if cankers are on the stem, the whole tree has to be cut off.

Common Tree Disease Treatment and Management Methods

Some common ways to manage or treat a sick tree include:

• Application of leaf fungicides or trunk injections.

• Removal and sanitation to avoid further disease spreads.

• Improving soil condition to improve overall tree health and boost resistance.

• Chemical treatments like insecticides, fungicides, and others.

• Lose planting and stand thinning.

• Biological controls like introducing birds to eradicate bugs.

The Best Tree Disease Diagnosis and Treatment Services in Florida

It is imperative to diagnose a sick tree as soon as possible to begin the appropriate treatment or management to prevent a total loss. 

ECO Tree Experts are the leading tree care service providers in West Palm Beach, FL, and the surrounding areas. We have the expertise and experience to handle any number of deteriorating trees and bring them back to life. If you need help diagnosing and treating a sick tree, look no further. Our tree and stump removal experts will get the job done for trees that are already too far gone.

For more on diagnosing and treating a sick tree, call ECO Tree Experts in West Palm Beach, FL, at 833-321-TREE to get a free estimate.