Many Beeches we see in Pennsylvania have become infected and have died from this treatable disease, resulting in the needless loss of these once magnificent trees.
Phytophthora is a name some of you may not be familiar with, while its devastating effects you may know well. It’s a fungus that affects many trees and shrubs, often resulting in major losses each year. With spring rains it spreads in the soil, usually around when leaf and flower buds open. It targets new and stressed plants with poor drainage conditions and is one of the most common root rot and canker causing pathogens in our landscape. A strain of this fungus caused the potato famine in Ireland. Symptoms vary with strain and species, but wet-bark staining, top or limb die-back, wilting, or loss of leaves are sure signs Phytophthora may be present in the soil.
For sensitive plant species, such as Beech, Boxwood, Azaleas and Rhododendrons, poorly drained soil and irrigation should be monitored closely. Improvements such as diverting water runoff and pooling with landscaping, and use of sprinkler/irrigation systems less often will also reduce the spread of the disease. Beech trees are of particular concern. Many Beeches we see in Pennsylvania have become infected and have died from this treatable disease, resulting in the needless loss of these once magnificent trees. McFarland offers treatments with proven success for both preventing and delaying the spread of this disease. Treatments consist of sprays and soil drenches for any tree or shrub that already has contracted Phytophthora. As well, we offer solutions and options for landscaping which can help prevent the disease. If you have concerns about this threat to plants on your property, please make an appointment with one of our Arborists so we can provide you with a strategy.