In our Gulf Coast climate, trees are an essential part of our landscape, providing much needed shade during hot weather, aesthetic beauty to our region, and food for our enjoyment. However, tree disease can severely damage trees of any size and age, requiring treatment, and in some cases, tree removal if the tree does not recover from the disease. In order to increase awareness of tree diseases common to our area, below you will find a list of tree diseases often found in the Houston area as well as photos to help identify symptoms and damage.
If your trees begin to display any signs of the tree diseases below, please be sure to call Embark Services for a tree assessment and diagnosis. Embark Services is the first in Texas to be accredited by the Tree Care Industry Association, and our ISA Certified Arborists will be happy to assess the health of your trees, discuss disease management options, or arrange for tree removal and stump grinding, if needed. Prompt diagnosis and treatment is critical to save the life of your tree and ensure a lifetime of enjoyment from your trees.
Oak Anthracnose is a tree fungus that predominantly attacks white oak trees, affecting leaves, twigs, buds, shoots and can cause dead blotches on tree trunks. In Southeast Texas and Houston, the most common white oak is the live oak tree. It initially appears as black or brown spots in the middle of leaves, resulting in a curling and puckering of the leaf body. The disease first attacks lower, inside branches of the tree, and if untreated, will spread upward, producing cankers and twig dieback. Repeated anthracnose infections can weaken trees and cause them to become more vulnerable to other tree diseases and insects, increasing the likelihood of significant tree damage or even tree death.
Aphids are tiny, pear-shaped and soft-bodied insects that extract sap from trees through stems and leaves, leaving them yellow and wilted with curling brown leaves, with low yields and stunted growth. When aphids deplete sap, the tree loses its strength and vitality. In addition, aphids excrete a sticky substance known as honeydew, which develops into a black sooty mildew on leaves.
The sugary honeydew excretion left on plants and trees can often attract ants, which are often associated with aphid infestation, especially on trees and shrubs, and often are a tip-off that aphids are present. If you see large ant piles growing up your tree trunks, check for aphids on the limbs and leaves above.
A strong aphid infestation can ultimately lead to tree death, so immediate action and treatment is the best course of action to save the life of your tree.
Hypoxylon Canker is a fungus that creates cankers and can cause death among oak and other hardwood trees. It is commonly found in the southern states including Texas, and will generally infect trees stressed by drought, overcrowding, excessive fill soil, nutrient deficiency or other damaging factors. When a prolonged drought has occurred, the fungus attacks weakened trees by decaying the sapwood, which will often lead to tree death.
Trees that have been infected by hypoxylon canker will begin to exhibit signs such a thinning of the tree crown and branch dieback, and pieces of tree bark will begin to fall off the trunk and collect at the tree base. The branch dieback will also lead to yellowing and dry foliage, and the canker will cause a dark brown discoloration of the sapwood.
Once the tree shows signs of powdery spores where the bark has fallen, then the tree is basically dead and will need to be removed before causing damage to your property.
Please be sure to contact Embark Services if you see any of the symptoms listed above on your trees so Embark Services’s tree specialists can help you preserve the life and beauty of your trees for years to come.