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Anthracnose Diseases

Anthracnose is a generic term for a number of diseases that affect trees in a similar way. Although it can affect a wide range of plants, damage to trees is particularly common. Hardwood trees, such as American sycamore, white oaks, black walnuts and dogwoods, especially those located in the Eastern states, are particularly prone to these problems. There are, however, ways to prevent anthracnose, and treat it if necessary. What is anthracnose? Anthracnose is a fungal disease. It lies dormant in dead leaves and twigs through the winter until the cool, often rainy weather of spring arrives. It then becomes active, and starts to spread its spores. While dry, hot weather can halt the spread, once the weather becomes cool and damp again, it is able to reactivate once more. The spores can be spread through wind or rain splash and they attack the soft, succulent tissue of developing shoots and growing leaves, leading to the death of the tips of young twigs. Untreated, it can lead to the defoliation of the tree. Signs of anthracnose diseases A common sign of anthracnose is small, dark, sunken lesions on any part of the leaf, although they tend to concentrate along the veins. The marks generally begin as small and irregular, yellow or brown in color, and grown and darken as they age. These marks can also appear on the flowers and fruits and an infected fruit will display dark, sunken spots which may develop a pinkish spot in their center. Treating anthracnose Fortunately, although anthracnose can return, it is rarely fatal to trees. Pruning out affected branches, ensuring that the tools used are disinfected between uses, and destroying the infected leaves will help stop the spread. Trees can also be sprayed with a fungicide, to kill off remaining spores, although this is often unnecessary. Preventing anthracnose As always, prevention is better than cure. If planting new trees, ensure that the soil is well drained. Adding compost to the soil where the tree can improve drainage as well as providing the tree with extra nutrients. Fallen leaves and twigs should be removed from around trees on a regular basis, and tools cleaned between uses to prevent the spread of any spores. During dry winters, ensure that the tree has enough water through watering them twice a month. Ideally, drip sprinklers should be used rather than overhead ones, to prevent leaves from getting wet. A preventative fungicide treatment can also be used when the leaves burst their buds. If you are unsure if your tree has anthracnose, or want advice on how to prevent it infecting your trees, contact a professional tree care company. They will be able to assess and diagnose any problems, and carry out the necessary work to ensure the ongoing health and beauty of your tree.

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