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When To Spot If Your Tree Has A Disease

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The Most Common UK Tree Diseases

There are a variety of tree diseases to watch out for, that could kill off a tree or significantly weaken it, making it dangerous leading to the need for tree felling. Tree diseases can be spread through fungus or pests such as beetles and larvae. Here are some of the most common threats to UK trees:

Ash Dieback – One of the biggest threats to the country’s Ash tree population, it is predicted to kill around 80% of ash trees in the UK – changing our landscape forever. It spreads via fungus spores which land on leaves, sticking to them and penetrating the leaf and beyond.

Acute Oak Decline – This can kill a tree in as little as two years, rather than a disease, this is caused by environmental stress such as soil conditions, drought, waterlog and pollution. The tree becomes weakened, opening it up to pests, fungus or bacteria.

Dutch Elm Disease – Spread via a fungus carried by the elm bark beetle, these pests breed in the bark of cut, diseased or weakened elm trees. They then disperse to healthy elm trees to feed. It has killed millions of elm trees so far, since it first appeared in the UK in the 1960s.

Great Spruce Bark Beetle – First appearing in the 80s and thought to originate from Siberia, this is caused by a beetle which bores into the tree to lay eggs and creates feeding galleries. Larvae then bore tunnels beneath the bark making it fall away.

Horse Chestnut Bleeding Canker – Caused by a bacterial pathogen, it can affect horse chestnuts of all ages and blocks water systems to the tree after multiplying – preventing it getting the nutrients it needs.

Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner – This is caused by the larvae of a moth that lays its eggs on newly opened leaves in early summer, leading to premature leaf drop by Autumn. It creates a cycle of egg laying for the moth, causing increasing damage.

Phytophthora Austrocedin – This pathogen spread disease infects and kills native juniper trees, one of our rarest native trees. It damages roots, so they can no longer take up water.

Phytophthora Ramorum – Another pathogen fungus-like disease, it can affect many of our native trees such as oak, chestnut, larch, beech, sycamore, cherry, ash and birch. It can progress quickly and kill a tree in a short space of time.

Signs to Look Out For

Symptoms of tree diseases can vary depending on the disease, but some of the most common signs can help allude to you a problem.

Leaves – Look at and inspect leaves as they can often be the first sign of an issue. If you notice leaves form dark patches or shed too early in the season, this could be a sign of disease. If you spot marks or tracks on leaves, this is another sign of a pest or fungus that has affected the tree. If you see clusters of yellow leaves that wilt and fall on your elm tree, this is a sign of Dutch elm disease.

Lesions or resin – If you notice a sticky substance or dark marks on your tree, this is another sure fire sign of a disease. They can reveal where pests have burrowed, and these resin tubes and leaks show where the tree has tried to defend itself. The resin will usually be dark in colour.

Bark – Bark is another helpful clue to tree disease; you can use this to spot any unusual marks or if there is a change in colour of inner bark. Cracks in the bark are a sign it is being weakened as well as resin seeping through them. If you tap the bark and hear a hollow sound this could be a clue a pest has burrowed underneath. Bark falling away is also a warning sign.

Call Essex Tree Brothers For Help

If you suspect your tree may have a disease, call Essex Tree Brothers and we can help identify the culprit and recommend treatment or provide tree felling to remove a dead or dying tree or to prevent the disease from spreading to healthy trees.

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