Hello! Part 2 of the educational series on Tree Diagnosis and Control is going to harp on Stem Diseases. What are Stem Diseases? What causes them?  Should You call your local arborist?

What are Stem Diseases & What Causes Them?

Stem Diseases are the sustained/progressive impairment in structure of function of the stems of a tree and can be caused by Abiotic/Biotic agents. Abiotic agents include things like nutrient deficiencies, drought, cold or heat damage, and flooding. Biotic agents are pathogens like viruses, bacterial infections, fungus, algae, nematodes, and phytoplasms. Diagnosing tree diseases can often times be difficult and can be like playing “detective.” You need to recognize that something is wrong by assessing the signs and symptoms. Are there growths? Is the bark flaking? Do you see fungal growth around the base? What do you see?

Common Stem Diseases

  • Galls –  Present themselves as swellings, or “tumors” on the branches and trunk of the tree. Galls after typically caused by fungal/bacterial infection
  • Cankers – On the trunk of a tree, canker can be seen as cambial invasion/necrosis, depressions or “flat faces” on infected stems, or girdling of stems/branches
  • Decays – “Rots” or heartrots, are extremely common all over there world. They are highly visible presenting fruiting bodies. There is currently no effective control for heartrots and decays, the best you can do is preventive care.
  • Vascular Wilts is colonization and plugging of the vascular system (typically the xylem, but may involve the phloem).

What Should I Do?

The key is to recognize the symptoms and signs of stem diseases, so that you can take the necessary steps to preventing tree loss! For even more about tree disease in Florida and diagnosis click here.  Or if you’re unsure about whether or not your tree is presenting symptoms of disease, contact us!  We can help you diagnose the tree and devise a plan of action to get you back on track!