5 Tree Care Tips To Prevent Foliage Fungus

Foliage fungal problems on your landscape trees can range from simply being unattractive to having a major negative impact on the tree's health. Fortunately, there are steps you can take when it comes to tree care that will greatly reduce or even eliminate many of the fungal issues that can plague a tree's leaves.

1. Open the Crown

Stagnant air and high humidity are the two main factors that can lead to a fungal bloom on foliage. Powdery mildew is one of the most common fungal culprits in these conditions, but is not the only one. Annual late winter pruning to open up the crown so there is better airflow and less trapped moisture can reduce a lot of fungus concerns. Your tree service will remove damaged and overcrowded branches so the tree has better form and airflow in the center.

2. Practice Hygiene

The fungus spreads by way of spores, which can be carried by the wind, insects, or birds. Pruning tools can also spread fungal spores between trees or from one section of a tree to another. When cutting out branches that may contain fungal growth, clean the tools with a dilute bleach solution before moving on to a new branch or tree. This kills the spores and prevents fungal spread.

3. Irrigate Properly

Trees don't easily shed excess water from the bottom of their leaves, as their form is better suited to shedding rainwater from the top leaf surface. Using irrigation methods that spray water up into the crown of the tree results in wet leaf undersides, which will dry slowly and be more prone to fungal growth. Instead of using standard spray-type sprinklers around trees, use drip hoses or another type of irrigation system that won't wet the foliage.

4. Clear the Debris

Fallen leaves and branches can remain host to a fungal infection long after they have fallen from the tree. The fungus then persists in the soil, where it can then be transported back into the tree or to a new tree. Clean up fallen debris promptly — especially if there has been a fungus issue in the past — so that the spores aren't spread back onto your trees.

5. Apply Treatments

Some types of tree fungus, like certain varieties of leaf spot fungus, are susceptible to foliar fungicidal sprays. Other types of common fungus, like the one that causes Dutch elm disease, can be prevented by treating the trees for the beetle that spreads the disease. Your tree service can help you determine what types of treatments may be necessary for your area.

Contact a local tree service if you need more information on tree fungus prevention.