Trees are one of the most beautiful, beneficial living elements known to man. As they stand tall and proud, they draw us in with their elegance and stability. Here in the Summerfield, Florida area, we have a multitude of different trees, with some of the most common being the live oak, bald cypress, Florida pine, Florida maple, and flowering dogwood.

Like all living things, trees can, unfortunately, fall prone to illness and get diseases. In many cases, these diseases can even lead to death. With our warm, humid temperatures, our trees are susceptible to different types of fungi that thrive in our climate. Between the time and investment you put into your beloved lawn ornaments, the last thing you want is for the trees and shrubs on your landscape to die off. The best way to prevent the disease from destroying your tree and shrubs is to know what type of diseases are out there and how to identify them. To help, we listed and described four of the most common conditions that affect trees and shrubs in Central Florida.

Four Common Diseases Affecting Trees and Shrubs in Summerfield Florida

Fusiform Rust

Fusiform rust is one of the most destructive diseases facing pine trees in the southern United States, including Florida. This disease is estimated to cost millions of dollars in losses throughout Florida each year.  It is caused by a fungus that spreads through the tree, causing cigar-shaped galls or abnormal growth, swellings, and cankers. You can identify this disease by the orange Annosus Root Diseasespores it produces on the surface of the galls in the spring. Orange spores are also procured on the lower surface of the oak leaves. Later, hairlike structures are produced on the leaf. If the fungus infects the tree before age five, it can likely kill the tree. In many cases, the fungus weakens the tree causing branches to break easily in the wind or the whole tree to blow over. Slash, loblolly, and longleaf pines are the most susceptible.

Today, seed treatments are available, making seeds less susceptible to this harmful disease and more resistant. Once planted, the best way to avoid damage from fusiform rust is through a routine tree care plan with fertilization.

Annosus Root Disease 

Also affecting pine trees is annosus root disease (ARD). Caused by a fungus as well, it usually enters a tree through a wound by fungus spores blowing in the wind. These fungus spores then penetrate the wood and cause an infection.  Diseased pine trees show symptoms of crown thinning and yellowing. Decay is preceded by a pink to dull violet statin of the wood. Later, small black flecks can be found in well-developed pockets. Eventually, the wood becomes spongy or stringy. This can be especially dangerous because it causes the tree to lose its strength, making it prone to breaking or falling when there is high wind.

Because ARD enters the tree when fungal spores land on freshly cut stump surfaces, the best way to prevent this disease is to plant on wider spacing and only thin the tree during the summer. Doing so may reduce the chances for infection since spores are usually not present during hot, dry weather. If you must thin the tree during other seasons, treat stumps with dry granular borax. This will help protect the stump. Just sprinkle borax poser liberally on the stump’s surface immediately after cutting.

Brown Spot Needle Blight

Like the first two, needle blight affects evergreens and is caused by a fungus. It is widespread throughout the south and Central Florida because it thrives on warm, wet weather. Needle blight generally starts on the lower branches and moves up the tree. It results in brown spots on the needles that eventually drop off. The loss of second and third needles is accelerated and eventually, the branches may look bare.

The best way to prevent needle blight is through proper care. Refrain from watering overhead since moisture spreads this fungus faster. Prune dense foliage for faster drying of the tree and remove and dispose of diseased needles to help stop the spread of the infection. Copper-based fungicides can also be effective.powdery mildew on a leaf

Powdery Mildew

This is a condition caused by a fungus that grows on the surface of the plant. It appears as powdery grey spots on the leaves and can affect a wide range of plants and trees. The fungus attacks young tissue, which can cause leaf and fruit disfigurement. Powdery mildew can steal essential nutrients from the tree or shrub, and as a result, it will significantly slow the plant’s production process. Powdery mildew also makes the plant weaker and more susceptible to other diseases.

Powdery mildew can be treated by spraying infected plants with a fungicide labeled specifically for this disease. Or, your best bet is to hire a professional lawn care company that specializes in lawn and trees and has the training and knowledge on how to treat this common fungus best.

For All Your Tree and Shrub Care Needs, Call On the Professionals at Advantage Green Lawn and Pest Solutions, Inc.

Taking care of your Summerfield area trees and shrubs is essential yet hard work. These valuable beings need a lot of love and attention. Luckily, the professionals at Advantage Green Lawn and Pest Solutions, Inc. have you covered. Our 4-Step Shrub Program provides just the right amount of fertilization for nourishing your trees and shrubs. It also contains insect and disease control, including control for the powdery mildew we discussed above. In late fall, our technicians use horticultural oil for added disease and insect control.

Learn more about our Shrub Program. Call us at 352 480-0702, or contact us via our website. Check out our latest blog articles for more tips and ideas regarding all things lawn care. Visit us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.


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