Tree Diseases: Symptoms And Treatments

The threat of diseases has led many people to plant their trees in an area where they think they can be safer from insect attacks or insects that can damage the fruit. One popular tree that is growing in many parts of North America and in which diseases have been recorded to affect are the oak, is the maple tree. Maple wilt is a destructive and potentially fatal tree disease that affects all species of maple (Quercus).

Most common maple wilt occurs on young needles and branches in late summer. As the tree matures the needles will turn brown and become discolored and brittle. If you spot any new, damaged, or broken needles or branches in your maple tree it is a good idea to cut down or remove them as soon as possible.


A brown discoloration in the xylem, or water-conducting tissue, of the tree; One or more branches, usually on one side of the tree wilt suddenly; sometimes the leaves turn yellow before they wilt; or leaf margins turn brown and appear scorched.

In some instances, there is a slower decline in new twig growth, or dead twigs and branches appear. On maples and tulip trees, elongated dead areas of the bark, called cankers, may appear on diseased branches or trunks. In Illinois, these symptoms usually occur in July, but can be seen as early as May or as late as October.

Internally, diseased trees may exhibit discolored sapwood in the recent annual rings. In maples, Verticillium produces greenish streaks; in smoke-tree, the streaking is yellow-green. In other woody plants, the discoloration is brown. In some trees and on younger twigs, discoloration does not occur or is found several feet below the point where leaves are actually wilting. This makes identification difficult.

Disease Forms

There seem to be two forms of the disease, one in which plants die slowly over several years and another where they die rapidly within a few weeks. Trees that shows minor branch wilt one year may show more the next year or may not show symptoms again for several years. There is some evidence that unbalanced fertilization (too much or too little nitrogen, for example) exacerbates this disease.

Disease Spread Prevention

In some cases this disease can lead to the death of the entire tree in large areas. Symptoms of maple leaf wilt are similar to other fungal diseases. Because the tree is susceptible to diseases, it is important to keep your trees healthy. If a disease occurs, be sure to treat the tree immediately. One way to do this is to spray the tree with a strong insecticide. This can prevent the spread of the disease and prevent damage to the tree.

Other methods that may be used to prevent the spread of diseases include: pruning, removing infected branches, or using a fungicide on infected trees. Be sure to do a thorough inspection of your tree every year to ensure it is still healthy. Once you notice a sign of disease, be sure to act quickly so that it does not spread to other trees.

Maple wilt can cause serious damage to your trees and its fruit. You should take preventative measures immediately to avoid further loss of fruit and allow the tree to fully mature. If you suspect there may be a problem with your trees, be sure to contact a tree service company with a certified arborist who will perform a tree-health test to determine if the tree needs to be removed or treated. Or if there is a possibility that it might not spread to other trees.

If you have any concerns about your maple tree you should contact a tree specialist as soon as possible. A tree specialist can evaluate your tree’s health and perform tree health testing as well as evaluate trees in need of repair. They can help you decide whether your tree is suitable for harvesting and how to best protect the tree. Regular inspections can help you prevent disease and help to ensure the longevity of your trees.