If you have trees on your street or in your yard, this is your friendly reminder to do a seasonal check-in. Take a look at your trees and ask yourself the following questions:
- Are the trees healthy looking?
- Are there many dead branches?
- Do you see signs of significant damage by insects, or signs of any invasive forest pests?
- Do you notice any potential cause for concern such as off-color leaves, new fungal growth, or cavities?
If you have concerns, you may want to contact a certified arborist or tree service. Checking in with your trees periodically and noticing any unusual changes is the first step in making sure they can continue to help our Earth for years to come.
What You May See Now
Noticing black spots on your maple leaves this summer? Your maple tree may have tar spot – but fear not! Tar spot is a fungal disease that resembles splotches of tar on leaf surfaces, but it is mostly just a cosmetic nuisance. Heavy infections may cause early leaf drop, but the fungus does not cause long-term damage to the tree.
The fungus can overwinter in leaf litter in your yard. If you would like to prevent tar spot in your trees for next year, be sure to remove all leaf litter when the leaves fall in autumn.
Photo: Maple leaves with signs of tar spot.
In July and August, keep a look out for signs of oak wilt disease. Oak wilt is a fungal disease that affects both red and white oaks, but red oaks (pointy leaf tips) often die much faster than white oaks (rounded leaf tips). Oak wilt symptoms include:
- Most or all of the leaves fall off of the tree in July or August.
- Leaves turn brown from the outer edge back towards the stem.
- Leaves of all colors will fall off the tree, and many will still have green on them
- Dieback may be visible starting at the top of the tree and progressing downward.
DEC tracks and manages oak wilt disease in New York State. If you see these signs on an oak this July or August, you may contact DEC’s Forest Health team for confirmation.
Photo: Leaves from a red oak tree infected with oak wilt. Infected red oak trees lose all or most of their leaves very quickly in July or August.