Many times, when a tree develops a disease, you can have the tree sprayed and its most infected branches removed — and then the tree slowly makes a recovery. However, like the diseases that affect humans, some tree diseases are more serious than others. Some are so deadly that it's really not worth your time or effort to try to save the tree. You might as well just have it removed before the tree falls down or spreads the disease to other nearby trees. So, which diseases warrant tree removal? Take a look.
If you have an oak tree, this is a disease to watch out for. It can affect almost any species of oak tree, and it is quite common in the eastern U.S. in particular. Oak wilt can kill a tree within a couple weeks of the time the tree first becomes infected, and the fungus that causes it is highly contagious. So rather than waiting for the tree to die, you should have it removed ASAP to protect any other oak trees in the region and help reduce the spread of oak wilt in general.
Here are some of the most obvious symptoms of oak wilt:
- Leaves turning bronze before crinkling and wrinkling
- Branch tips turning brown or black
- Black or gray mats of fungi on the tree's trunk or large branches
- The crown of the tree turning brown mid-summer
A tree care company can test your tree for oak wilt and confirm the diagnosis before removing the tree. The wood will need to be burned or composted to avoid spreading the fungi to other trees.
There are actually two root rot diseases that are common in the United States: Armillaria root rot and Phytophthora root rot. Each is caused by a different type of fungus, but both cause similar symptoms and have the same consequence: tree death. Almost any species of tree can develop root rot. The fungi that cause these diseases invade the tree's roots, eating the vascular tissue in this area, which prevents the tree from carrying water and nutrients up to its branches. Without water and nutrients, the branches die.
Symptoms of root rot include:
- Leaves turning yellow and then brown
- Black or brown cankers, or holes, on the tree's exposed roots and in the lower part of the trunk
- Dieback of twigs and small branches
Trees with root rot are often very delicate and can fall over easily, so your tree removal company will need to exercise caution when removing a tree with this disease.
Some tree diseases are curable, but oak wilt and root rot diseases typically are not. If your tree has one of these conditions, just have it removed.