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Trees and Shrubs 2019: A big year for fungal diseases

Photo courtesy: MyMinnesotaWoods
Are you seeing spots on the leaves of your trees? Why are the leaves on my trees curling? The needles on my evergreen tree are discolored. So what's up with that?!

The bad news is, our very wet spring...and May snowstorm, believe it or not, means this will be a big year for fungal diseases on trees and shrubs in Minnesota.

Damage report

A new article in this month's MyMinnesotaWoods newsletter delivers the grave details:

"During cool, wet spring seasons, a variety of fungal diseases affecting trees and shrubs flare up. The symptoms of these diseases are often unsightly and somewhat alarming, and can be a cause for concern for homeowners and woodland owners. This spring is no exception — it’s been quite cool and wet so far (heck it even snowed this May!), and as expected, now that it’s warmed up we are seeing a lot of diseases like tar spot on maple, anthracnose on a variety of hardwood species, and others.

The good news is that in general these diseases look worse than they actually are. While they can be alarming, they rarely kill trees or cause major damage. In fact, it’s usually not worth treating these diseases even for high-value trees like the ones in your yard. But not all diseases are the same, and some can be serious."

Helpful Resources

For more information about the symptoms--spots on the leaves, curling leaves, discolored needles--and what you can do about it, read this article:
A cool, wet spring means a big year for fungal diseases on trees and shrubs

Author: Gail Hudson, Extension Communications

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