5 Common Tree Diseases in South Jersey

South Jersey is known as one of the most beautiful tree-abundant places in the world. There are plenty of forests and wooded areas to drive through no matter where you are going and almost everyone seems to have a few trees in their yards.

However, there is a somewhat scary side to this as well. Tree diseases are spreading at alarming rates all over the country and South Jersey isn’t left out of it. Many trees have already fallen victims to some of the worst diseases of them all – even trees in backyards where the signs were there.

These are the five most common tree diseases in South Jersey, the causes, the signs, and potential cures. Make sure to look over your own trees for any of the following signs:

5. Emerald Ash Borer

  • Leaves yellowing in the middle of summer
  • Loss of foliage in late summer
  • Holes in the bark on the trunk of the tree

Not really a disease, the Emerald Ash Borer is a best that has wreaked havoc in many places in our country. The larval stage of the Emerald Ash Borer allows them to burrow into trees, disrupting the ability of the tree to get nutrients and water that allows it to grow strong and tall. While this was once a Norther New Jersey problem, it has made its way down to us now.

The problem is that without catching it, they will just continue to mate and grow, hitting more and more trees thanks to the beetle’s invasive nature. According to the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, this pest has killed over 40 million trees and it shows no signs of stopping.

4. Anthracnose

  • Dead spots on leaves
  • Eventual loss of foliage earlier in the year (late summer instead of fall)
  • Irregular leaf growth in the spring

If you have shade trees in your yard, particularly oak, maple, dogwood, ash, or sycamore, you are susceptible to Anthracnose disease. This appears as fungi on the leaves and twigs of the tree, but it doesn’t have to be a death sentence. Instead, it can be removed by professionals if caught early enough. However, it can spread easily to not only other trees, but other plants in your yard so it must be removed if not caught early.

If you have damp areas of your yard, the disease will likely start there, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden. Since South Jersey is becoming increasingly rainy, you have to be careful about where you plant new trees to avoid this problem.

3. Seiridium Cranker

  • Dead brown branches that randomly appear
  • Cranker that oozes sap on a swollen part of the tree
  • Dead or dying leaves at random times of the year

Affecting many different kinds of trees, especially those that aren’t drought resistant, seiridium cranker is a pretty nasty disease that is exacerbated by dry conditions. This fungus doesn’t go easy on your tree – it attacks the vascular system and can take down an entire row or cluster of trees with little warning.

With a practiced hand, seiridium cranker does not have to be the end of your tree. Removing all of the branches and leaves that have been infected with it is the start to containing it. However, it is an extremely difficult process that requires a trained eye.

To avoid getting this disease, make sure to fertilize and water your trees regularly, per Oklahoma State University’s Entomology and Plant Pathology Department.

2. Armillaria Root Rot

  • Mushrooms growing along the base of the trunk
  • Mushrooms extending beneath the canopy

If you have old and/or rotten maple or oak tree stumps in your back yard, Armillaria Root Rot is coming for the rest of your plants. While those aren’t the only things that spread the disease, they are the major contributors to deaths from it. Since it works through root systems, it is difficult to tell just whether something is a harmless mushroom or whether there is a problem.

Armillaria Root Rot is particularly prominent in areas where they have been droughts, according to The American Phytopathological Society. If you suspect you have root rot, contact a tree care professional because there are ways to treat the soil so that the problem doesn’t spread.

1. Needle Cast

  • Brown or purple needles starting at the bottom of the tree
  • Thickness of the foliage starts to decrease in the autumn months
  • Eventually, the tree will lose all of its needles

Needle cast is a disease that has decimated spruce trees all over, particularly Blue Spruce. It is a disease that is hard to catch because it doesn’t always show itself. In fact, it will work slowly and take over your tree in ways that you don’t always see. However, when it does latch on, it will create a tree that just doesn’t look good. According to the University of Minnesota Extension, “The pathogen overwinters on living and recently killed needles. Spores, called conidia, are dispersed by splashing water spring through early autumn.”

If you want to save your tree, especially a Blue Spruce, you have to act quickly and contact a professional.

Your trees are an important part of your yard. If they are sick, there is a chance that the rest of your yard will follow, especially the foliage. In some cases, a disease can weaken your tree and put the rest of your home in grave danger. Make sure to pay attention to any of the warning signs that your trees might not be feeling their best. They can’t talk to you, so you have to pay attention.

If you are looking for a team that will look after your trees and help nurse them back to health, consider giving our team at Bumblebee Tree Service a call at (609) 297-1721. Our team can help to determine if you have a diseased tree, how to properly treat the problem, or help you with the removal process.

Header photo courtesy of Jeremy Tenenbaum on Flickr!