Common Tree Diseases

Diseases in trees can be treated only if they are caught in the early stages. When a tree has significant dieback in the crown, the chances of saving the tree are greatly reduced. Large amounts of decay also reduce the survivability of the tree. Being proactive about tree health is best, but catching problems at their first sign increases the chance that the tree will survive. There are numerous remedies for tree diseases and how they are applied — too numerous to list. Below you will find the most common diseases and insect infestations. Due to the wide spread of the Emerald Ash Borer, we have listed this on a separate page. Please contact our office for more information about protecting the health of your trees.

Crab Apple Scab

Crab Apple Scab is caused by a fungus which lives through the winter within infected leaves. In early spring, their spores are shot into the air when leaves become wet. The spores are then carried by the wind into newly developing apple leaves, thus causing fruit infection. This type of cycle repeats annually. The most common symptom is brown to olive-green spots that originate along the veins of the leaves. In time they become black, and the leaves turn yellow and drop. Good scab control is based on time; the application for fungicides occurs during the months of April and May (weather permitting).

Needle Blight on Pine Trees

Needle Blight is described as a sudden death of pine needles. The dieback usually starts at the tip of the needle. Stress, pathogens, or secondary effects of disease or insect infestation occurring elsewhere in the tree are usually the three main causes of Needle Blight. Common symptoms are tan and light-brown spots on the needle, and breakoff at the infected site. Needle Blight is treated with fungicides.

Needle Cast on Spruce Trees

Needle Cast is caused by a fungus, and is the most common disease in spruces. The first symptom develops in late fall or in spring after one year of infection. You will begin to see yellowing from the interior of the tree outward. The needles turn brown the following spring, usually in April and May, and fall off to form new growth in June and July. It has been stated that even though fungicide application will effectively control this disease, reinfection may occur in subsequent years.

Oak Wilt

Many oak trees in the state of Illinois are susceptible to Oak Wilt. This is a deadly vascular disease caused by a fungus that inhibits the water-conducting vessels of the tree. This deadly fungus spreads underground through a root-graft transfer, and can also spread above ground from the Nitidulid picnic beetles. Fortunately, there are management approaches for the various oak groups to aid in preventing Oak Wilt. Timing is most important; for instance, the micro-infusion method should be applied during the growing season, after the leaves have enlarged and before fall.


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Birchwood Services
Ph: (847) 359-1951 or
Ph: (847) 253-1961

Proudly Serving the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago

Services Include

Tree Trimming
Tree Removal
Stump Removal
Plant Healthcare
Tree Cabling
Landscaping Services
Lot & Land Clearing
Emergency Service

Our Mission Statement

Birchwood Services takes pride and is privileged in providing you with your specialized tree care and landscaping needs. Our goal is to enhance the beauty of your trees and landscape.

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