Features Ag News Elsewhere  (fresh daily from the Web)

Maple tree problems

By John Fulton       Send a link to a friend

[MAY 12, 2004]  Here we go again! It's just into May and many area homeowners are reporting problems with their maple trees. Many times the problems begin on one side of the tree and have the symptoms of brown or dropped leaves. What could be the problem? Well, anthracnose is back again.

What's anthracnose? It's a disease caused by a fungus. It's present most years and affects many different plants. On trees -- get this -- it affects only good-quality shade trees. That includes maples, oaks, ash and even sycamores. Silver maples are not affected by anthracnose but are affected by other leaf spot fungi (that's plural for fungus).

Anthracnose can affect shade trees in three different ways. The first way is by affecting small twigs. In this type of infection, small twigs are actually killed by the fungus. The second way is affecting buds. In bud infections, the buds are killed. The third way is infecting leaves. The leaf stage is the most common and shows up as dead areas along the tips and edges of leaves or as dead spots between the leaf veins. As these dead areas get larger, the leaves fall to the ground.

There is no cure for anthracnose. Once the fungus has infected the tree, we just have to ride it out. We might have prevented the disease by protecting new buds and leaves before the infection, but that isn't very practical on very large trees. This would take a fungicide application covering the entire tree every 10 days or so from when leaves first expand from the buds until nighttime temperatures stay over 65 degrees.


[to top of second column in this article]

That leaves us with good news and bad news. First, the bad news is the infections are just starting and will get worse. There is nothing we can do but keep the trees in good growing condition (water when dry and add a little fertilizer). We can continue to have leaves infected for quite some time.

The good news is that rarely is the disease a killer on established trees. Generally the worst that happens is the loss of the small twigs, if that stage was infected, or having a bare tree in your yard for a few weeks. I say a few weeks because generally when leaf drop is severe, a new set of leaves comes out within four to six weeks. What usually happens is it takes more energy to shoot a second set of leaves, so that is why the water and fertilizer can be important.

[John Fulton,
Logan County Extension office]

Previous articles by John Fulton

Logan County Fair

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor