Tree Bark Diseases

In this article, we’ll discuss tree bark diseases by pointing out the different types and resulting conditions that develop.

Tree barks play vital roles in the survival of trees. These are easily observable as they form the outer layer of these trees.

This protects the tree from dehydration and promotes the movement of plant sugars formed in leaves to different parts of the tree. Also, the bark protects the tree from insect activity.

Now trees may develop certain conditions that adversely affect their normal functioning. One of the vulnerable parts is the bark.

Conditions can worsen when not promptly addressed.

Any tree disease can worsen when left untreated. Now, treatment for any condition is best performed by a trained technician.

An arborist helps treat varying tree ailments, including barks. So, you’ll need to call for professional help once any condition is noticed.

The best treatment option for tree bark diseases is prevention. Preventive treatments ensure the tree is routinely checked and early symptoms urgently addressed.

The best way to do this is by scheduling periodic inspections that help take a close look at such trees.

Common Tree Bark Diseases

Many known tree bark diseases include cankers, black rot, mushrooms on bark, black knot, and beech bark.

Any of these conditions negatively impact tree barks and eventually affects the trees. For more understanding of these diseases, let’s discuss them as follows.

i. Cankers Diseases

Cankers can be defined as tree bark death. Here, sections of tree bark die off due to fungal or bacterial pathogens.

Impact or injury sustained by trees can also cause cankers. When stressed or after sustaining damage, a tree is most vulnerable to fungal and bacterial infection.

Now multiple types of canker diseases affect tree bark. These include diffuse cankers, perennial bleeding, and wound cankers.

Any of these conditions adversely affect tree barks causing them to die off.

Trees can make a full recovery when professional treatments are administered. Also, the urgency of treatment matters as delays may result in worsening canker conditions that may adversely impact the tree.

Let’s briefly discuss each of these cankers, shall we?

  • Diffuse Cankers

This condition is arguably the worst kind of canker affecting tree bark.

It spreads rapidly through the tree before the tree’s immune system has the opportunity to respond. Diffuse cankers found on tree trunks will likely lead to their death.

So, what causes diffuse cankers?

This condition develops from activities of fungal and bacterial pathogens like chestnut blight and phytophthora dieback; the best way to fight back is by calling for urgent assessment and treatment.

  • Perennial Canker

Any number of fungal conditions can cause a perennial canker. Examples include Eutypella, Nectria, and Strumella, among others.

Quite several trees are affected by this canker, including ash, apple trees, elms, cherries, hickories, birch, beeches, willow, and walnuts.

Perennial canker diseases can arise from several actions, such as poorly executed pruning and bark wounds, and can also get in through junctions of dead and live branches.

  • Bleeding Canker

As the name implies, bleeding cankers usually result in conditions tree barks appear wet. Maples are among the most vulnerable trees affected by this condition.

The wetness coming out from the bark is reddish. This reddish coloration goes right under the dead wood beneath the canker.

Further confirmation of this condition includes disintegrating barks from around the tree’s lower trunk.

  • Wound Canker

Here, human actions mainly cause this type of condition.

This is especially evident when mowing around trees. More often than not, wounds are inflicted on the tree. Using other heavy machinery close to the tree is likely to bruise it.

Now, such wounds or bruises that appear on the tree may further deteriorate into a wide range of adverse conditions. When this situation is observed, consider calling for professional help.

ii. Black Rot Disease

Black rot disease is a condition that affects tree bark and is caused by the fungal pathogen Botryosphaeria obtuse.

Openings made on tree barks by pruning or insect infestation provide easy access to this pathogen. As stated earlier, this disease spreads rapidly, causing further damage to tree bark.

When this disease is full-blown, it leads to a weakening of the tree’s limb. This makes it more difficult for the tree to support fruit-bearing.

Young trees affected by black rot disease are the most vulnerable as they’re easily killed.

iii. Mushrooms on Bark

Do mushrooms on tree trunks pose any danger to their health? Absolutely! It may be a clear sign of internal rot that eventually affects the bark.

Such a branch may need to be pruned off when found on the unit. In any case, expert help is required to prevent disease spread.

iv. Black Knot Disease

The fungus Apiosporina morbosa is responsible for black knot disease.

If you’ve noticed a tar-like substance on tree branches coupled with unexplained swelling, your tree may be affected by the black knot disease.

If not quickly addressed, this condition spreads further to other parts of the tree, causing extensive damage to branches.

Call an arborist to inspect and administer treatment if any of the above conditions are observed. Here, affected areas of the tree may be pruned off.

It’s crucial during pruning to disinfect pruning tools used to prevent diseases from spreading to other trees.

v. Beech Bark Disease

As the name suggests, beech bark disease mainly affects beech trees.

The activities of the European beech scale insect and native bacteria fungus bring about this condition. This symbiotic relationship between the fungus and the burrowing insect adversely affects the tree.

You’ll likely notice blisters, cankers, and oozing sores. Also, the tree becomes stressed, making it weak and exposed to other diseases.

As with other diseases discussed, you must call for urgent professional intervention before it worsens.

These are common tree bark diseases that attack trees. The best way to deal with the problem is through prevention. Routine maintenance helps identify any problem at its earliest stage.

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