PPDL Picture of the Week​

April 26, 2021


Smooth Patch

Karen Rane, Plant Disease Diagnostician

These oak trees are showing the symptoms of smooth patch (Figures 1, 2).
This condition is the result of a fungal infection that is restricted to the
outer bark, causing it to slough off. The bark layer remaining is smoother
and lighter in color than uninfected, normal bark.  Patches can vary from a
few inches to a foot or more in diameter.  Several fungi can cause this
condition. A common species, Aleurodiscus oaksii, produces clusters of flat,
disc-like spore-bearing structures on the surface of the smooth bark. These
structures are gray or beige in color and are usually less than 1⁄2 inch in
diameter (Figure 3). The presence of these structures may be mistaken for
indications of wood decay fungi, but because smooth patch fungi invade only
the nonliving, outer bark tissues, they do not affect the health of the
tree.

​Click image to enlarge

Figure 1: Oak tree with smooth patch.

Figure 2: Oak tree with smooth patch.

Figure 3:  Spore-bearing structures of Aleurodiscus oaksii, one of the fungi
that cause smooth patch.