7 Common Tree Problems & Diseases

Trees are living things, so that means that they can get “sick” just like people and animals can. A disease or other tree problem might take a little while to show itself because of the sheer size of the tree, and once symptoms become clear, it could be too late to save the tree.

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

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

If you spot any of these things, act fast for the best chance of saving the tree and the ones nearby it.

Tree Diseases & Common Problems

These 7 things are the most frequent issues addressed by experienced arborists in Maryland. The moment you think one of these things might be wrong with your tree, call someone with the training and equipment to help!

Tree Diseases

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

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

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

Some cases of Witches’ Broom are fatal for the tree, others are just considered a growth malformation. A tree care professional can tell you for sure.

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

The trick to treating mildew is to apply a fungicide that contains sulfur. This will treat the current mildew and help to prevent future mildew on the tree. You might also need to trim the tree to remove branches, fruit, flowers and leaves that have been affected by the mildew

Gall – Gall is a tree disease that happens when insects build small nests on the leaves or twigs of a tree to leave their eggs in. Most types of galls are not dangerous for the tree, but they are not attractive.

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

It is not necessary to treat the tree if there are galls, but they can inhibit the growth of young trees. Treat galls by killing the insects. You should also clean out from under the tree after the leaves fall off, since this is where the insects live during winter months.

Other Tree Problems

Improper Trimming – There’s a discipline to tree trimming, as well as many types, and if you don’t know what you’re doing, you could harm the tree beyond recovery. Consider the type of tree, season and other factors. Under-pruning (or not pruning at all) can be just as big of an issue. Only a certified arborist should be trusted to prune trees to keep them healthy.

Lack of Water – Young trees can be severely impacted by drought. If you want to plant new trees, you will need to supplement how much water they get from rainfall. A tree that doesn’t get enough water will have its growth stunted. The first sign you are likely to noticed is scorched or dry leaves. Find more tips for new trees here.

Too Much Sun – Do some planning before planting trees in a full-sun area of your property. Most species of trees can handle it just fine, but too much sun can happen to any tree if the sun is harsh for an extended period and rainfall is light. A tree that is getting too much sun needs even more water to prevent wilting, drooping leaves.

Certified Arborist Services in Maryland

A trained arborist from MD Tree Trimming will quickly diagnose what’s going on with your sick tree and formulate a plan to save it.

Here is what an arborist is trained to do:

  • Inspect trees from the ground and from the branches of the tree if possible. Climbing into the canopy is often necessary to see exactly what is causing the symptoms.
  • Treat your tree through fertilizers and additives in the soil or products sprayed on the leaves. This person will have expert knowledge about the disease impacting the tree and the most effective treatments for it.
  • Prune tree limbs to remove dead or diseased branches and to assist healthy growth. Even if heavy trimming is necessary, they will know how to cut off branches so that the tree survives both the problem and the pruning.
  • Remove the tree from your property if there is no chance to save it. The worst case is that the tree is too far gone, and removing it is the only way to protect your home and surrounding landscape.

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

Some tree diseases look very similar to each other, requiring a professional opinion to accurately diagnose and correct the issue. If your trees are looking dry, disfigured or dying, call a professional arborist from MD Tree Trimming for an inspection before it’s too late for your tree.