Leaf Spot

Written by Courtney Salinas
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Leaf spot is any kind of tree disease that causes spots to appear on the leaves of a tree. The causes can vary from different kinds of fungi to air pollutants to bacteria. More than likely, leaf spot is caused by a fungus that plants itself in the leaf and destroys the leaf tissue as it grows.

Fungi that cause leaf spot often rest over the winter in fallen leaves. When the fallen leaves thaw in spring, wind carries fungus spores to newly emerging leaves. Fungi that cause leaf spot grow best in wet, cool areas at the beginning of the growing season. Areas where spring brings defrost and cool weather are perfect for these types of fungal infections. Leaf spot is less common in areas where there is no over-winter freeze and the spring is warm and dry.

Leaf Spot Prevention

Regular maintenance and well-planned tree planting can prevent leaf spot. When planting trees, try not to crowd them together. Clumping trees together creates a cool, yet humid area that is perfect for fungal growth. Also try to rake up all fallen leaves and bury or compost them. This will prevent fungi from lying dormant in leaf piles all winter.

Since many different things can cause leaf spot, it might be a good idea to have a laboratory test some infected leaves to be sure. Fungal infections can be treated with fungicides as long as leaf spot is just a general problem and not an epidemic. Large-scale infections usually require chemical treatment or elimination of the trees.

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