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Learn to Identify Common Tree Diseases in Albert

Many diseases can affect your trees, whether that means stunting their growth or even causing them to die. Early detection of any disease is the best way to save your trees, so being able to identify a diseased tree is very helpful. 


To help you learn what diseases affect which tree species, your Edmonton arborists at All Season Tree Service have created this helpful guide that includes information such as how to manage the symptoms. If your trees have been infected with any of these diseases, be sure to contact us and we’ll help you with a disease consultation or tree removal in Edmonton.

White spruce

ARMILLARIA ROOT ROT – ARMILLARIA MELLEA COMPLEXE

  Location: Base of tree

  Season: Spring and summer (after damage from freezing or drought)

  Causes: Fungus

  Effects: Induces sapwood decay in affected parts and often kill trees (singularly or in patches)

  Signs: Decrease in tree vigour, dieback of branches, yellowing foliage and considerable flow of resin in conifers

  Tree species: White spruce, tamarack larch, poplars and more

  Management: Stumps of affected trees provide food source for the fungus, so remove debris, stumps and roots after cutting down affected trees

Colorado Spruce

CANKER OF SPRUCE – LEUCOSOMA KUNZEI SACC.

  Location: Trunks

  Season: Spring and fall

  Causes: Fungi

  Effects: Cankers are localized lesions that can cause deformations, dieback, growth reductions and sometimes death of trees; stem cankers lead to death while branch cankers lead to limited deformation

  Signs: Dying branches, heavy white pitch flow that produces a solid coat over the cankers and drips from branches

  Tree species: Colorado spruce, tamarack larch and white pine

  Management: Watering affected trees may alleviate stress; cut branches with reddened needles and clean shears between branches; reinvigorate the tree with balanced fertilization

Aspens tree

CYTOSPORA CANKER – VALSA SORDIDA

  Location: Trunks, annual shoots and branches

  Season: Spring and fall

  Causes: Fungus

  Effects: Initial infection is followed by death of part of the bark but rarely forms a true canker; the disease affects weakened and stressed trees

  Signs: Areas of sunken and brown dead bark, with wet, foul-smelling, discoloured wood under the bark; orange-coloured fructifications coming out of the bark

  Tree species: Balsam poplar, aspens and more

  Management: Remove wilted and dead limbs; treat all pruning cuts immediately; disinfect your pruning equipment after each cut

Maple tree

HEART ROT DISEASE – ASCOCORYNE SARCOIDES

  Location: Centre of tree

  Season: Summer and fall (after pruning)

  Causes: Fungus

  Effects: Causes tree to decay over time, which leads to branch breakage

  Signs: Presence of mushrooms and other forms of fungi around the roots or trunk of the tree

  Tree species: Maples and oaks

  Management: Minimize pruning wounds that expose heartwood and shape trees at an early age so major branch removal isn’t necessary later

Tree in summer

LARCH DWARF MISTLETOE – ARCEUTHOBIUM LARICIS

  Location: Trunk and branches

  Season: Summer

  Causes: Parasites

  Effects: Reduce wood quality, diameter and height growth and sometimes kill the tree because it provides entrance points for stain and decay producing fungi

  Signs: Branches and stems are often swollen at dwarf mistletoe infection sites

  Tree species: Lodgepole pine among others

  Management: Prune infected branches; when the trunk is infected clearcut harvesting of infected trees is necessary to ensure parasites cannot spread to other trees

Lodgepole pine

PINE NEEDLE CAST – LOPHODERMELLA CONCOLOR

  Location: Needles on conifers

  Season: Moist summers

  Causes: Fungus

  Effects: Defoliation of needles, dieback and death of branches and mortality after repeated epidemics (especially in young trees); they only affect new foliage

  Signs: Red-brown needles that eventually turn straw coloured with concolourous, oval-shaped fruiting bodies 

  Tree species: Lodgepole pine

  Management: Ensure efficient air circulation around trees and maintain good weed control; apply fungicides to protect healthy new foliage

Pine tree

RED HEART ROT – STEREUM SANGUINOLENTUM

  Location: Trunks

  Season: Summer

  Causes: Fungus

  Effects: Most often leads to destruction of tree but can be responsible for heartwood stains and terminal dieback of branches

  Signs: Fruiting body forms a crust-like layer that is cinnamon brown with a wavy edge; it turns blood red when rubbed

  Tree species: White spruce, balsam poplar, tamarack larch, pines and firs

  Management: Once established it cannot be effectively treated; prevent by avoiding unnecessary damage or injuries from pruning

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