Gail Ruhl, Plant Disease Diagnostician, Purdue
Is your lawn carpeted with leaves from your Sycamore
tree? Do not despair, the tree is not dying—just experiencing
a temporary set-back from infection by a fungal disease known as
Anthracnose is the common name for a type of leaf
spot and canker disease caused by certain kinds of fungi. Anthracnose
diseases affect many trees, but are particularly prevalent on white
oak, ash, maple, walnut and sycamore. Each species of tree is infected
by a different species of fungus, thus the fungus does not spread
from oak to maple or maple to ash or ash to sycamore. A different
fungal species is also responsible for dogwood anthracnose.
Symptoms are especially severe in years with cool,
wet spring weather. The symptoms will vary depending on the type
of tree and the stage of plant development at the time of infection:
leaf spots or blotches; twig dieback and wilting; and browning
or death of emerging leaves are all possible.
Although premature leaf drop often occurs with anthracnose
diseases, most of the trees infected with anthracnose usually show
good resilience and refoliation, and are not permanently damaged
by this early season fungal blight.
For more information refer to Anthracnose
of Shade Trees - BP-9-W (PDF 493K) and Dogwood
Photos courtesy of Dan Egel
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