Singing in the rain

It seems as though  every year we wind up with a “flavor of the season” Certain conditions or cycles bring a specific set of problems with them. Some years bag worms are a problem and it seems like from mid June through summer we are inundated by calls from clients about trees ‘looking dead or stripped.” Once we settle into what’s happening we can pretty much diagnose what is goin on without even going out to the property. If we ask the right questions and understand our current conditions it is fairly simple. Let’s take a look at where we are this year locally.

With late winter into early spring staying wet and cold we had a protracted transition of seasons. It seemed to stay pretty cool throughout a good portion of April. Although temperatures have moderated the wet has continued right through this week with showers almost daily. This pattern sets up perfectly for fungi.   As calls ramped up in Spring we looked at several Sycamore trees that “appeared to be dying!” Only to discover that the trees had Anthracnose. A fungi that causes leaf drop in Sycamore.  In most cases the trees push out a second set of leaves and recover fully. As a few more calls came in with the same concerns we realized it was going to be “one of those years.”  As we have visited between 30-40 properties a week it has become quite evident that fungi is the flavor of the season across the board. They thrive in cool wet climates and spread in some circumstances even through the splashing action of rain. We have seen everything from the aforementioned Anthracnose to Fireblight,to Seiridium canker . It has been a buffet of fungus.

In certain situations when conditions change and the current conditions run their course the trees will rebound to optimal health. Other times some good cultural practices may be in order. They would include , pruning branches up off of the ground. Pruning to create space between plants and to allow light to penetrate plant interiors. In addition this will allow more airflow and plants will dry more quickly. Also good sanitation, cleaning up leaf litter as some spores hide in there. By doing these things we can control ,to a degree  , spore counts and conditions needed for fungi to establish. In other circumstances fungicides may be used but control timing with these products is vital and it is very easy to miss the best window for control.


Paul Biester