7 Common Tree Problems & Diseases

Trees are living organisms, so that means that they can become “sick” just like people and animals. A disease or other tree problem might take a while to show up due to the overall size of the tree, and once you identify a symptom, it could be too late to restore the tree.

A certified arborist from VT Tree Trimming can identify and treat common tree issues so that there is a much greater chance of saving the tree. Learn about our service here. Not only can an arborist help to stop a tree from dying, but they can also help trees get healthier growth and bloom more flowers or fruit.

Have you ever noticed a tree on your property that has always seemed OK but all of the sudden looks like something is wrong? In the next paragraphs, we’ll describe some of the most typical tree problems and what these symptoms mean.

If you see any of these things on any of your trees, act fast to have the best chance of saving the tree and the ones nearby it.

Tree Diseases & Common Problems

These 7 things are the most common problems addressed by experienced arborists in Vermont. The moment you think one of these things is wrong with your tree, contact someone with the training and equipment to help!

Tree Diseases

Leaf Rust – Leaf rust is actually a fungus that is very common in both trees and plants. The name comes from the brown and yellow spots this disease produces on the leaves.

Leaf rust is a problem because it interferes with the leaves’ photosynthesis, the process by which it breathes. Leaf rust can be tended to with fungicides and selective tree pruning of the affected leaves. It might be recommended to cut off entire branches with leaf rust.

Witches’ Broom – This disease results in a large mass of twigs, dead leaves and branches that resemble a broom shape. It is caused by insects, unusually rainy weather or fungus. The construction of a clump of leaves and twigs is the tree’s reaction to infection or harm.

Some cases of Witches’ Broom are deadly for the tree, others are simply considered a growth malformation. An arborist can diagnose the issue.

Mildew – Mildew is a fungus that grows on almost anything in wet conditions, but even after the wet conditions are gone, mildew can continue to thrive. It appears as a powdery texture, usually white, and it often appears on the leaves of a tree first.

The trick to eliminating mildew is to apply a fungicide that includes sulfur. This will eliminate the current mildew and stop future mildew on the tree. You may also need to prune the tree to remove branches, fruit, flowers and leaves that have been affected by the mildew

Gall – Gall is a type of tree disease that appears when insects build small nests on the leaves or branches of a tree to leave their eggs in. Most galls are not harmful to the tree, but they are not attractive.

Gall appears as as bumps on the tree, in varying sizes. They can be white, brown, gray or some shade in between.

You do not have to treat the tree if there are galls, but they can limit the growth of recently planted trees. Treat galls by killing the insects. You should also clean out from under the tree when the leaves fall off, since this is where the pests live during winter months.

Other Tree Problems

Incorrect Pruning – There’s a discipline to tree pruning, as well as many types, and if you don’t know how to do it, you could damage the tree beyond recovery. Consider the type of tree, season and other factors. Under-pruning (or not pruning at all) is just as big of an issue. Only a certified arborist should be trusted to trim trees to keep them healthy.

Lack of Water – New trees can be significantly impacted by drought. If you plant new trees, you will need to supplement how much water they get from rainfall. A tree that is not getting enough water can have its growth stunted. The first symptom you are likely to see is scorched, dry leaves. Find more tips for new trees here.

Too Much Sun – Do your initial planning before planting trees in a full-sun area. Most species of trees can handle it just fine, but too much sun can become a problem for any tree if the sun is too hot for a long period and rainfall is light. A tree that is getting excessive sun needs extra water to prevent wilting, drooping leaves.

Certified Arborist Services in Vermont

A trained arborist from VT Tree Trimming will be able to quickly identify what’s happening with your sick tree and put together a plan to save it if at all possible.

Here are the things an arborist is trained to do:

  • Evaluate trees from below and from the limbs of the tree if necessary. Getting into the canopy is typically necessary to see exactly what is leading to the symptoms.
  • Treat your tree with additives and fertilizers in the soil or solutions sprayed on the leaves. The arborist will have expert knowledge about the disease affecting your tree and the most effective treatments for it.
  • Prune tree limbs to eliminate dead or damaged branches and to encourage healthy growth. Even if heavy trimming is needed, they will know how to remove branches so that the tree survives both the issue and the trimming.
  • Remove the tree from your yard if there is no chance to save it. The worst case is that the tree is dying, and removing it is the best choice to protect your home and surrounding landscape.

Arborists can also inform you about the other trees that you have and how to best care for them so you don’t find yourself in the same situation again.

Some tree problems look very similar to each other, requiring an expert opinion to correctly diagnose and treat the issue. If your trees are looking dry, disfigured or dying, call a certified arborist from VT Tree Trimming for an inspection before it’s too late for your tree.