Determining the Cause of That Unsightly White Stuff on Your Trees
Causes and Consequences of that Unappealing White Fuzz or Fungus on a Tree
Healthy and vibrant trees can indeed be beautiful sights to behold, both when they are in full bloom during the growing season and in the short-lived period of splendor when their brilliant fall colours are revealed. The extent of this appeal can even be carried forward into the winter season; though all the leaves have fallen, there is some elegance to bare branches covered in a layer of snow and glistening in the soft sunlight.
Furthermore, hale and hardy trees can also serve several functions for a property owner, depending on the number of trees as well as their species, size, and locations around the lot; these roles or purposes can include any combination of the following:
- Curb Appeal
- Fruit Production
- Energy Efficiency
- Improved Air Quality
However, when any tree’s appearance is marred by the presence of a foreign substance, like white fuzz on the bark or leaves for example, all of the beneficial qualities of the tree can be suppressed under the sight of that unsightly blemish. And while on that subject, just what, exactly, is that white fuzz on a tree?
Though this phrase can produce a rather descriptive mental image, it is certainly not the most technical of terms. More explicitly stated, the appearance of white fuzz on a tree is often due to either:
- A tree fungus commonly referred to as powdery mildew
- The presence of a colony of insects called woolly aphids
Tree Fungus (Powdery Mildew)
Powdery mildew is a tree disease similar in appearance to a light dusting of flour or baby powder on the surface of the leaves; hence its name. It typically forms in conditions of high humidity and is most frequently seen in crowded plantings and thick tree canopies that remain wet/damp after periods of considerable rain. It can prevent new buds from opening and can cause leaves to curl, turn yellow, and fall prematurely.
Treatment for this tree fungus or tree disease can include the application of fungicides as protective or preventative steps or pruning to remove areas of the tree that have already been affected by the fungus; a longer-term solution would be to prune/remove branches in a way that would allow greater air flow and sunlight penetration into/through the tree. All debris should be discarded appropriately to prevent the spread of powdery mildew to other trees or plants on the property.
Insect Infestation (Woolly Aphids)
At first glance, a woolly aphid colony might appear to be white fuzz or mold on a tree but in actual fact, they are insects that thrive by sucking the fluid out of the tree. While they might look soft and fluffy, they can lead to a number of tree-health issues such as curled or wilted leaves and, in more extreme cases, stunted growth.
Pesticide use is not recommended for woolly aphids; they can be removed by repeatedly spraying them with water from a garden hose (nozzle in at full stream setting) every few days until no signs remain or by spraying with soapy water and removing them manually with a brush, sponge, or cloth.
Call a Qualified Arborist if a Tree Shows Signs of Fungus, Disease, or Infestation
Proper tree care and maintenance can be an important factor in enhancing the aesthetic appeal and the value of a residential or commercial property. Unfortunately, situations can arise that will weaken tree health and consequently require professional tree service.
When a tree is exhibiting any signs of fungus, disease, or infestation, property owners in Uxbridge, Newmarket, Whitchurch-Stouffville, and other communities across the Greater Toronto Area can rely on the knowledge and skill of a qualified arborist from DreamWorks Tree Services; this specialist will conduct a comprehensive assessment that includes:
- Confirmation of the health risk
- Diagnosis of the particular issue
- Determining the extent of the risk
- Recommending the appropriate action
Based on their wealth of experience, this qualified professional can subsequently perform the recommended action/actions in a competent and efficient manner in order to remedy or resolve the situation; these services can include:
- Pruning or trimming
- Cabling and/or bracing
- Removal of dead/diseased wood
- Tree and stump removal (if needed)
- Application of pesticides or fungicides
- Branch thinning (for sunlight penetration)
- Enhancing soil nutrition; aeration and fertilization
DreamWorks Tree Services has been providing full scope of these tree care service for property owners in Uxbridge, Newmarket, Whitchurch-Stouffville, and other municipalities within the Greater Toronto Area since 1998.
If your trees are exhibiting signs of fungus, disease or insect infestation, including what might just seem to be white fuzz on the leaves or branches, call the tree care specialists from DreamWorks Tree Services at 647-793-8903 or contact us to schedule a visit by a qualified arborist as soon as possible.