Besides regular tree pruning and trimming, watching for the signs of disease is an important part of successful tree care. If you’re wondering if you should contact a tree arborist in Decatur or Atlanta about a diseased tree on your property, then continue reading to learn how bot canker can affect ornamental trees.
Bot canker, or Botryosphaeria dothidea, is an opportunistic fungus that is a serious pathogen among ornamental trees. This disease most frequently affects damaged and weakened trees, and environmental factors such as freeze injury, heat, drought, and soil compaction are examples of stressors that can make your trees more vulnerable to bot canker. This fungus commonly affects redbud, willow, elm, oak, hickory, holly, dogwood, cherry, apple, sweetgum, and Leyland cypress trees.
The lesions caused by a bot canker infection can vary in size according to the tree species and its condition at the time of infection. The lesions are typically surrounded by callus tissue, and those that occur on twigs usually cause the twig to die. Larger branches usually tolerate multiple cankers, but several cankers can girdle and kill a branch. Bot canker often initiates an infection on flower stems and spreads downward, but the problem may also begin in a dead area of a branch and then colonize outward.
Unfortunately, there are no fungicides that effectively control the dieback caused by bot canker. For this reason, tree pruning using proper sanitation for any damaged tissues as they develop and minimizing the stress on your trees are the best treatments for this common plant disease.
When it comes to caring for ornamental trees, keeping them healthy year-round is one of the best ways to protect them against bot canker and other diseases. To help reduce plant stress, protect your trees against sudden temperature changes and provide irrigation during hot or dry periods. When given optimal growing conditions, many trees can resist infection and colonization by the bot canker fungus.