You might not think too much about the health of your trees. But just like us, trees can also get sick and suffer from tree diseases and pests. These can leave them looking terrible and at the same time, structurally weak and highly contagious. Trees can also be prone to invasion by various creepy crawlies that can make them sick, weak and subsequently hazardous.
Here are some common diseases and pests to be on the lookout for in Brisbane.
A common tree disease is root rot (also known as brown rot), a fungal disease found in soil. Root Rot causes roots to decay and cut off the tree’s nutrient and water supply. Left untreated, root rot can lead to death. Signs of root rot are wilting leaves and brown, mushy roots. Trees can be effectively treated if diseases are spotted early. If you’re unsure or need assistance, ask your local Brisbane Arborist to take a look before it’s too late.
Myrtle Rust is another fungal disease which infects plants from the Myrtaceae family, such as the Eucalyptus, Lilly Pilly, Paperbark and Bottlebrush trees. Classified as one of the more serious fungal diseases, Myrtle Rust attacks actively growing leaves and young stems and can also infect fruit and flowers of certain trees. Myrtle Rust looks like small, purplish spots on a trees leaves, with bright yellow spores forming into pustules. This disease is very quickly spread by animals, insects, wind and water and it can travel long distances. Severe cases left untreated can result in the death of the host, so it’s best to get it checked out and treated as soon as possible. If your trees are showing signs of Myrtle Rust, don’t delay. The Queensland government recommends you contact Biosecurity Queensland, which is a part of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
This fungal disease presents deep red cankers on branches which can kill the branch very quickly, sometimes as rapidly as overnight. The dead branch will then turn yellow and release spores causing further infection. If it’s caught early enough, you may be able to save the tree before it’s too late by completely removing the affected limbs, however if it has spread too far, the entire tree will need to be removed.
Anthracnose is a group of fungal diseases that can affect a large variety of trees and plants, including fruits and vegetables. This disease can be distinguished by sunken lesions, spots and holes on leaves, fruit, flowers and stems, and can also attack developing shoots and leaves, leading to significant defoliation. With the ability to spread very quickly, especially during rain season, this disease is most commonly found in warm, humid areas and thrives in damp conditions.
There are a large number of pests here in Brisbane that may cause problems for your trees. Signs that your tree may be infested are:
- Exit holes
- Presence of sawdust or frass
- Cracking and swelling of tree bark
- Damaged bark
- Leaking sap
- Ripped leaves
More common pests are borers such as beetles or moths that lay their eggs on or inside of trees. The larvae then feed on the tree which weakens it over time. For a comprehensive list of pests that can be found in Queensland, click here: https://www.business.qld.gov.au/industries/farms-fishing-forestry/forests-wood/pests-diseases/trees-timber
As always, prevention is better than cure. And keeping your trees healthy and in great condition is the best way to prevent disease and infestation. Call the experts for before it’s too late if you suspect your tree might be sick or have pests. Your local arborist can provide a full assessment and advise on the best course of action. Safely and effectively managing the problem can prevent the spread to other trees in your yard.