Unusual weather patterns have caused a buzz amongst plant people. Most will agree that bloom times are at least four weeks early due to exceptionally warm weather early on but it seems that April showers are four weeks late, arriving through most of May. We may need to change a popular phrase to ” May showers bring June flowers”. Let’s face it, cool damp weather is what were used to during springtime in New England.
After exceptionally warm and dry weather from February through April I was convinced that we wouldn’t have any fungus problems but the cool damp weather throughout May has caused an explosion of fungal spores. The dampness occurred simultaneously with tender new foliage allowing many fungi to permeate leaf surfaces.
I am fielding many calls about London plane trees that look horrible due to a fungus disease called Anthracnose that has caused the leaves to wilt. This form of anthracnose is primarily an aesthetic concern and not so much of a health problem. As the weather gets warmer the plane trees will send out new leaves. Anthracnose can affect everything from tomato plants to large shade trees during cool damp weather. Effects from this fungus disease can vary from very mild to very serious.
Anthracnose on Florida dogwoods can be very serious and cause plant mortality over several years. Dogwood anthracnose appears as spots that look like frogs eyes on the lower leaves and then progresses into the stem damaging the vascular tissue. This form of anthracnose on dogwoods destroys the conductive tissue and essentially clogs up the plumbing causing stem die back.
There are preventative sprays for many fungus problems that should only be applied by licensed professionals. Fungicides are always applied preventively starting at but break. If symptoms appear it is often too late to doing anything about it. If you have a valued tree that is susceptible to a fungus problem, plan for preventative spraying because chances are we will have cool damp weather every spring.
The best advice that I can give is plant disease resistant specimens. Cornus Mas and Cornus alternifolia are both disease-resistant native dogwoods that are often overlooked in the landscape.
Hold onto your hat as hurricane season may be one month early and hopefully summer sticks around one month later
People who plant trees have faith in the future