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Diseases and Pests

Even well-tended trees are susceptible to diseases and pests. These articles provide tips that will help you recognize common tree defects and infestations, and recommend treatment options, such as a comprehensive plant health care program.

Common Diseases

Diseases are common plant problems in the landscape. Often, it can be difficult to identify diseases because the causing organisms are rarely seen with the naked eye, and they spread by microscopic growth and spores. However, the signs and symptoms on the tree become obvious as the disease takes hold.

Tree diseases can affect any part of the tree, or the entire tree. Named for the type of damage they cause, we have leaf spot, leaf blotch, scab and blister, defoliation, needle cast, and yellowing or chlorosis as named symptoms. Stem canker and galls, trunk and root rot are also very prominent tree disorders.

Before you take corrective action, you have to determine what is causing the problem. A correct diagnosis is the first and most important step in developing and applying a correct treatment, which allows you to address the problem rather than simply treat the symptom. This is when a diagnosis from a professional arborist may prove critical.

Common Pests

On your property, insects and microorganisms abound. This is a natural and beneficial state, since insects and microorganisms are key components in nutrient recycling, decomposition, plant succession, natural pest control, and wildlife habitat. But, like anything else, there are periodic outbreaks of destructive landscape pests. Technically, a landscape pest is any organism that:

  • Outcompetes with desirable plants for resources
  • Threatens the health, structure, appearance or value of desirable plants
  • Diminishes personal enjoyment, comfort, or safety in the landscape

There are several major groups of landscape pests:

  • Insects and other anthropods, such as mites and spiders
  • Microorganisms and fungi, such as mold and bacteria
  • Mollusks, such as snails and slugs
  • Vertebrates, such as deer and amphibians
  • Weeds, vines and parasitic plants

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