Common Tree Diseases in Alberta & How to Manage Them

Tree Diseases
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Prevention is better than cure. Like us, even trees can get sick. Learning the signs and symptoms of tree diseases will prevent the trees from stunted growth or premature death. In addition to knowing the signs and symptoms, you can also learn how to treat and manage them. Below are the three of the most common types of tree diseases found in Alberta:

Armillaria Root Rot

The armillaria root rot disease, as the name suggests, is located at the base of the tree and is caused by fungus. It occurs during spring and continues till summer. The disease occurs due to damage from the freezing winter or drought. The disease affects the trees by inducing sapwood decay, which ends up killing the trees. Look for signs like a decrease in the tree’s vigour, dieback of branches, yellowing of the foliage, and increased resin flow in the conifer tree. To stop the disease from spreading to other trees, remove debris, stumps, and roots of the affected tree. As the diseased stumps provide food to the fungus, it is vital to remove its parts even after cutting down the tree itself. The armillaria root rot disease is usually found in tree species like poplars, tamarack larch, and white spruce.

Canker of Spruce

The canker of spruce disease is found in tree trunks. It is caused by fungi and appears during the spring season and fall. Branch cankers cause deformation and reduction in growth, while stem cankers result in the affected trees' death. Look for symptoms like dying branches and heavy white pitch flow that develops a coating around the cankers, slowly dripping from the branches. To manage the canker of spruce disease, ensure to water the affected trees well, which may relieve some stress. Cut the branches that have reddened needles, and make sure to clean the shears repeatedly while cutting the branches. Lastly, rejuvenate the tree by applying balanced fertilization. This disease is mainly found in Colorado spruce, tamarack larch, and white pine.

Cytospora Canker

The cytospora canker is detected on the trunks of trees, as well as annual shoots and branches, during spring and fall. The source of this disease is a fungus affecting trees that are already weakened. It harms the trees by first infecting them and then killing the infected part. When you notice bark areas that are sunken or brown, it's a sign that the tree is infected by cytospora canker. To cure the cytospora canker disease, remove limbs that are wilted or dead. Then immediately prune the tree wherever necessary. Remember to disinfect your equipment every time you cut. This disease is observed in aspens, balsam poplar, and many other tree species.

Look out for these tree diseases and prevent them from affecting your trees. If you need assistance managing your trees and landscape, contact us at HML Landscape and Tree Services to learn more about our landscaping design, construction and maintenance services.

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