Certain types of tree are susceptible to specific afflictions. Knowing what kind of trees you have on your property can greatly increase the ability to properly identify and diagnose any issues you may have.

  • Pines,Spruces, and Evergreens
  • Aspens
  • Fruit Trees
  • Elms
  • Locusts
  • Maple
  • Ash, Linden, and Others


Perhaps the major concern when planting pines, in particular large plantings, is pine wilt disease, caused by the pinewood nematode. Austrian, Red, and Scots pine are most susceptible to this problem. White pine is not considered susceptible to pine wilt. If making a large planting, include a variety of pines, spruces, and fir to help avoid major problems with insects or disease.

Spider Mite - One of the most damaging pests of conifers are spruce spider mites. They resemble miniature spiders no larger than the head of a pin and may be black or green. Often you can spot their fine webbing among the needles and twigs. Starting with the lower branches, they suck sap from the undersides of aging needles causing a stippling effect. The infested needles eventually turn reddish-brown, and drop off, severely disfiguring a pine tree. Mites usually attack trees that are stressed for some reason, perhaps by drought or lack of enough sun. Sometimes overuse of broad spectrum pesticides in the yard that kill off resident beneficial insects promote a mite population explosion.

The presence of spittle masses on twigs of pine in May and June is indicative of the pine spittlebug.

Pine spittlebug will feed on Scots, Austrian, and White Pines; along with spruces and firs. Nymphs of pine spittlebug are brown. Heavy populations may be more of a serious problem, as sap flow can be reduced.

Sticky Bud Tips; Needles Turn Yellow

Pine Shoot Beetle -Originally discovered in a Christmas tree plantation in Ohio, these pests have spread through the Midwest and into Pennsylvania, New York and Ontario. Beetles are larvae of reddish brown moths that hibernate in bud tips of pines. Their presence is betrayed by masses of pine pitch on the infested buds. When the weather warms they emerge to infiltrate healthy buds on the newly developing shoots. These grow only 1 or 2 inches before they become distorted and die. Then the adult moths emerge to lay eggs for the next generation on twig tips, bark and needle sheaths. When these eggs hatch, new beetles bore through the base of the needles, causing them to yellow and die.

Scale - Scale insects sometimes feed on pine needles, protected beneath distinctive, rounded waxy shells. These shells may be white, yellow or brown to black and are about 1/10 to 2/5 inch in diameter. They appear as bumps along the twigs and needles of pine trees. Severe scale infestations cause pine needles to turn white or yellow. Cottony masses appear on undersides of branches, especially where they join twigs or other branches. Severe infestations can kill young trees.

Yellowish Needles; Tunnels In Bark

Pine Bark Beetles - Adult pine bark beetles are short-legged, stout and about 1/8 inch long. The young beetles are soft and yellow in color, but soon turn dull brown. These pests are especially dangerous after a prolonged drought. Beetles of an overwintering brood attack the pine trees in the spring, starting at midtrunk, working both up and down. Opportunists, they are attracted to trees already weakened by injury or other stress. Their larvae, or grubs, bore through the outer bark and excavate S-shaped tunnels in the sapwood. Emerging adult beetles leave tiny telltale holes in the bark. Affected trees show yellowish-green foliage from 10 to 14 days after an attack. By the time the top of the tree turns reddish the beetles have usually left, except in the winter months. Keep trees in vigorous health by proper feeding and watering. Cut down and destroy severely infested trees.

Rust - Blister rust is a fungal disease that produces ugly swellings filled with powdery orange-yellow spores on trunks and branches of white pine and other 5 needle pines. In spring the rust spores are dispersed by wind, and if they land on nearby currant or gooseberry bushes, they infect these plants to complete their life cycle. In the fall these infected secondary host plants produce a second type of spore that infects pine needles and causes them to wilt and turn brown. Eventually the fungus grows into the branches and trunk, and after several years may girdle and kill the tree. Control this disease by eliminating all currants (especially black currants) and gooseberries from within 1,000 feet of susceptible trees. Treat moderately infected pines by carefully cutting away canker tissue. If the tree is nearly girdled, cut it down and destroy it.

Needles Discolored; Drop Prematurely

Needle Cast - This fungal disease causes needles to turn yellow, then shrivel and drop off. Infected needles show black spore-bearing bodies on their undersides. Smaller trees may be defoliated. Collect and destroy fallen needles in late fall or winter to eliminate overwintering disease spore.
Bark Of Trunk and Roots Gnawed

Rodents - Small rodents such as mice and voles sometimes gnaw bark off trunks and roots, causing injury that allows disease organisms to invade pine trees. Keep the area around the trunk free of weeds and grass and delay spreading winter mulch until after the ground freezes so rodents are not able to nest near the trunk. If you have chronic problems with rodents wrap pine tree trunks with guards of 1/4 inch hardware cloth or commercial tree guards to repel the pests.

Deer - Deer damage pine trees by eating their needles and by rubbing against their trunks to remove the fuzz from their antlers. The occasional deer visitor may be discouraged by a repellent product sprayed on the trunk and lower branches of the tree. This will have to be renewed after it rains. If your yard is regularly visited by a local deer herd it may be necessary to fence the area where the white pines are located with a simple electrified wire. If lots of your plants are being eaten, the best solution is to fence the entire yard with relatively inconspicuous black poly netting deer fencing.

Spraying: Pine Bark Beetle Prevention
Injections: Fungicide
Deer and Varmint Repellent
Trimming and Removal


The aspen tree is a common sight in North America. It is one of the most widespread tree species in the United States. These large trees reach heights of 65 feet or more, although they do not typically have a very long lifespan. Many aspens live for only about 20 years, though a few varieties live quite a bit longer. Aspen tree care is a bit more involved than care for other tree species. They require full sun, good soil and plenty of water. They are also sensitive to many pests and diseases. Here are a few common aspen tree problems, and what you can do to fix them.

Diseases Canker diseases, such as Cytospora, are quite common in aspens. The comparably delicate bark of the aspen tree makes it susceptible to injuries. When the bark is injured, the openings allow fungus to get in and damage the tree, causing large cankers on the trunk. If caught early, your aspen may be saved by removing the affected branches. If the cankers have spread to the trunk of your tree, it's usually too late and your tree will probably need to be replaced.

Rust and leaf spot diseases are also common in aspens. These diseases cause the leaves of your tree to be covered in spots and pustules. To remedy these types of leaf problems, be sure to remove and destroy all affected leaves in the fall, to prevent recurrence in the spring. Excess moisture is the primary cause of rusts and leaf spots. Only water your tree in the morning, to allow the leaves to dry out. Water the tree at the base and make sure that water doesn't splash onto the leaves.

Pests Aphids are a common pest on aspen trees. Even if you don't see the bugs themselves on the tree, you can usually tell they're there by the sticky substance they leave behind, called honeydew. Aphids can be removed by using insecticide soap or by introducing ladybugs into your yard. Ladybugs are a natural predator of aphids. You can order ladybugs online or through a local nursery if you don't have enough of them in your yard.

OysterShell Scale

The most familiar stage of the oystershell scale is the covering of the full-grown female scale that overwinters attached to the bark (Figure 1). The mother scale is about 1/8-inch long, brown or gray, slightly banded, and the general shape of an oyster shell. The overall appearance of the scale often is similar to that of the underlying bark and these insects are easily overlooked. Old scales can stay attached to the tree for several years before falling off.

Gall Fly or Gall Wasp

Another common aspen tree pest is the Aspen Twig Gall Fly. These insects create large round lumps on the twigs of your aspen when they deposit their eggs in early spring. While these galls are not pretty, they are not harmful to the tree. If your tree is affected, there isn't much you can do about it, as there really is no effective control for Aspen Twig Gall Fly.

Because aspens are susceptible to hundreds of different parasites, fungus and pests, it can sometimes be difficult to diagnose and treat your aspen tree's problems.


There are several types of fruit trees, including cherry, apple, lemon, orange, grapefruit, plum, peach, lime, apricot, berries, pear, crab apple and passion fruit. They all suffer from similar problems, such as pests, animals and diseases, but these usually vary from tree species to species.

Pests Pests commonly infest fruit trees and can include fruit flies, plant bugs, coddling moths, fruit moths, leaf rollers, borers and aphids. Slugs are also common pests. These pests can be prevented with nets or deterrent sprays. Some fruit trees need to be protected before they blossom, while others need it after.

Disease Most fruit trees that become infected with a disease get it from a certain fungus or bacteria. There are several types of fruit tree diseases, so it is important to get it diagnosed properly based on the symptoms and time of year the fruit tree falls ill. These diseases may include things such as scabs or blight. You can successfully treat about half of these fruit tree diseases with preventative measures and treatments, but some diseases can completely kill a tree. Common diseases include apple scab, black knots on cherry trees and fire blight on pear trees.

Animals Some animals think fruit tastes good, just like humans do. These include flying foxes, flying squirrels, squirrels and mice. These pests can bore holes into trees, gnaw on branches and early growth, and create homes in the trees so they are the ones getting the majority of the fruit. You can prevent these pests from accessing fruit with nets, or by planting the tree away from other trees with outstretched branches, or by encircling the trunk with several feet of mesh wire.

Trimming Fruit trees should be trimmed as late in the winter as possible to avoid injury. In the winter the leaves have dropped so the branch structure of your fruit tree is easier to see. Trim lightly, as you don't want to begin a yearly cycle of excessive vegetative growth with little fruit production. When determining your trimming schedule, a good rule to follow is to trim the latest blooming trees first and the earliest blooming trees last. It's also advisable to trim the oldest fruit trees first because younger fruit trees are vulnerable and therefore more susceptible to winter damage.


Elm trees are deciduous trees with a large, spreading leaf canopy and dark green leaves. The leaves have a span of 6 inches and turn bright yellow in the fall. Elm trees are stately, beautiful trees that are unfortunately prone to a number of diseases. Read on to learn about some of the problems that affect America's elm trees.

Dutch Elm Disease Dutch elm disease first appeared in Europe in the early 1900s, and has spread throughout Europe and North America. It was first noticed in the United States in1928 in shipments of logs from the Netherlands, hence the name, Dutch elm disease. It is a devastating disease that has slowly caused widespread elm tree destruction. Dutch elm disease is a fungus that is spread either by grafting or by the elm bark beetle. The fungus attacks the water system of the tree, eventually causing the tree to die. Proper watering, fertilizing and pruning keeps your tree healthy and disease-resistant.

Elm Leaf Spot Elm Leaf Black Spot, also called elm anthracnose, is another fungal disease affecting the leaves of an elm tree. First, yellow spots appear on the topside of the leaves. These spots are followed by slightly raised black fruiting bodies.

Elm Bark Beetle The elm bark beetle spreads Dutch elm disease by carrying the fungus spores on its body. When the larvae of this beetle burrow beneath the bark to feed, they spread the fungus into the tree's internal structures. Pruning is the most effective way to get rid of these beetles. This makes it hard to reach and kill these pests. Due to instances of Dutch elm disease that spread across North America between the 1940s and 1970s, the population of Dutch elms dropped from 77 million to 34 million by 1976.

Gypsy Moth Gypsy moth caterpillars feed on the leaves of elm trees. They are voracious eaters and can destroy a tree by defoliating it in one season. Insecticides are sometimes used to get rid of these pests, but keeping your trees healthy through pruning and fertilization is the best defense. Healthy, vigorous trees are able to resist pests more effectively.

Asian Longhorned Beetle
This is a wood-boring beetle that chews tunnels into the tree bark to deposit eggs. Once hatched the larvae further damage the tree by eating the living tissue beneath the bark. An Asian longhorned beetle infestation kills a tree within one to two years. Removal of infested branches and trees is the only way to control these beetles.

With careful observation and maintenance, it is possible to protect your elm trees from common problems. Contact us as soon as you see any signs of infestations, changes in the appearance of leaves or bark, or wilting or discoloration of branches or leaves. Pruning dead, broken or infected branches saves and protect your trees. We prune larger live branches as well to increase sunlight and air circulation within the crown of the tree. Elm trees are beautiful, but they are also fragile.

Elm Leaf Miner
This is a native pest that feeds on the tissues in between the outer layers of elm leaves, causing browning and leaf drop. Although primarily an aesthetic pest, leaf miner damage can stunt or weaken your tree when the population in your tree is large.

Spraying: Foliar Insect ControlInjections: FungicideInjections: Insect ManagementTrimming and Removal


Mimosa Webworm
This pest is the most serious problem of Honeylocusts, especially the thornless ones. Most common in the Midwest, these pests are expected to eventually spread wherever Honeylocusts are grown. The adult moth is silvery gray, with black dots all over its wings. It overwinters in the bark on the trunk of the Honeylocust or in debris under the tree. It emerges in June to lay its eggs on its leaves. Its larvae, or worms, have five white stripes running along their gray or brown bodies. When they hatch, they web leaves together to form a protective tent, under which they feed on the rest of the leaves. In southern regions webworms may produce several broods in one year . Tents of webbing on the tree - The leaves look browned, scorched. Sometimes individual worms can be seen hanging from a branch on a thread of silk.

Honeylocust Spider Mite
The honeylocust spider mite is closely related and similar in habits to the common twospotted spider mite. Both are barely visible to the unaided eye and feed on the undersides of leaves. During midsummer, honeylocust spider mite populations greatly increase. The foliage of infested trees turns bronze. Injured leaves often drop prematurely. Problems with spider mites tend to be much greater on street trees and in other dry, drought-stressed sites. Regular watering during hot summer months helps to reduce mite populations and lessen tree damage. Natural spider mite predators (predatory bugs, predatory thrips) often contribute to a great reduction of mite populations by late August, but chemical controls may be needed to prevent injury. Fortunately, honeylocust spider mites are controlled more easily than the twospotted mite that causes problems on other ornamental plants. Dormant season oil treatments can suppress honeylocust spider mites.

A common species of green leafhopper infests honeylocust and many other trees. Peak populations occur in late spring, often together with plant bugs. Visible damage is minimal and rarely results in more than a scattered yellow spotting of the foliage. A temporary honeydew problem also may occur during heavy infestations. Leafhoppers on honeylocust appear to have two generations per year. However, some adult leafhoppers are found in late July.

Gypsy moth caterpillar
Newly hatched gypsy moth caterpillars are about 1/16 inch long, and grow to about 2 1/2 inches. Mature ones have 5 pairs of blue spots and 6 pairs of red spots along their backs. Adult male moths have a wingspan of 1 1/2 inches, are light tan to dark brown, with blackish wavy bands across the forewings. Female moths are larger, nearly white. They have 2 1/2 inch wings but do not fly. Their egg masses are covered with velvety, buff-colored hairs, and contain 400 to 500 eggs. When they hatch, the caterpillars of the gypsy moth gather in huge masses to devour tree foliage. Leaves Consumed - Tawny egg masses may be visible later in the season.

Gall Midge
A tiny pest (called a Gall Midge) rasps the insides of leaves which causes a gall about 1/8 inch in diameter to form where tissues are irritated. Midge larvae live within these galls at the ends of new growth on Honeylocust trees. The first eggs are laid in April and may be followed by 5 or more midge broods over the season. Globular Galls at growing tips.

Scale insects form clusters of circular gray bumps about 1/10 inch in diameter on Honeylocusts. These blister-like outgrowths have a distinctive raised nipple in the center and shield the insect while it feeds on the tree leaves and stems beneath. Heavy infestations kill young trees. Small bumps on leaves and twigs. The first indication a scale attack is often discoloration of the upper leaf surface, followed by leaf drop, reduced growth, and stunted plants.

Canker Disease
While relatively disease free in the wild, in their natural habitat, cultivated Honeylocusts are sometimes victims of a canker disease caused by a fungus. Cankers on trunk and branches, wilting and dieback . Affected trees develop cankers, or sores, on their trunks and branches. The cankers are elongated, sometimes sunken in the middle when new, and they often eventually girdle the tree. Commonly the bark turns orangish-brown or pale yellow orange and, in the South, a gummy substance leaks from the damaged tissue.

Spraying: Foliar Insect ControlSpraying: Dormant OilInjections: NutrientInjections: Insect Management
Trimming and Removal



Anthracnose is commonly mistaken for tar spot. However, the damage is much more extensive as it affects not only the leaves but the branches as well. The spots on the leaves are many, and are usually much smaller than the 1/8 inch tar spots. This condition commonly occurs when there are long periods of cold and wet weather. The areas affected may include the dark small spots and irregularly shaped dead and brown areas on leaves. The leaves usually fall off in the early spring, followed by a second set of leaves which will also die off. The branches may develop cankers which can girdle the branches and kill them. The disease is perpetuated because the fungal spores over-winter in dead leaves. When there is a prolonged wet spring, the spores have a perfect breeding ground. The spores are carried by the wind to other trees. Once infected, the disease can over-winter in the host plant in the infected branches and twigs. The disease can be controlled by removing dead leaves in the fall from the base of your trees.

Verticillium Wilt
One of the worst diseases that your tree can get is verticillium wilt. This affects the vascular system of the tree and usually ends in death of the tree. The verticillium fungus is a soil-borne disease and can live in the soil for years before it makes an appearance. It enters the tree through the roots. Common symptoms are yellowing leaves, followed by the leaves wilting and entire branches can be affected. In some maples, the entire crown can wilt and die within a short period of time. Proper diagnosis can help you make the right decision in what to do with your tree. A green or brownish green color can be found in the sapwood of affected trees.

Root Rot
Phytophthora Root Rot can affect maple trees, especially when there is a wet spring or a tree is living in poorly drained soil. The main symptom of this problem is yellow, smaller than normal, leaves. Dark brown and black roots can be found on the tree when root rot occurs. Plants can't usually be saved when this happens, and they will need to be cut down to avoid injury to people or damage to property.

Injections: FungicideTrimming and Removal


The ash tree is a handsome, native, deciduous tree. There are over 60 ash tree species- the white ash being the largest of the family. The ash tree is a strong, medium to very large tree, depending on type, and a relative of the olive tree. Ash trees have an opposite branching structure, with multiple leaflets. Depending on species, ash tree leaves are green, turning yellow or purple-burgundy in the fall. Spring flowers are inconspicuous, but the fruit that follows is more noticeable, hanging in clusters of winged seeds which turn light brown and linger on the tree until early winter. The ash tree has a lovely rounded crown and gray diamond-shaped furrowed trunk when mature. An interesting fact about the ash tree is its characteristic agile wood is used to make baseball bats.

Ash trees are susceptible to ash tree borers and other pests and disease. Keep ash trees as healthy as possible through regular monitoring, pruning, fertilizing and watering. By following these steps, you can help prevent ash tree problems from starting.


Several different kinds of fungi cause anthracnose, a leaf disease, in linden trees. Fumago vagans causes sooty mold, while the Uncinula necator fungus causes powdery mildew. Linden trees with anthracnose have brown spots with black margins along the leaf veins. They may also lose their leaves early or experience bud, leaf or twig dieback. Sooty mold is usually associated with the honeydew extruded by insect pests such as aphids or scale, according to the North Carolina Cooperative Extension. Sooty mold spores stick to the honeydew and colonize the foliage, interfering with photosynthesis. Powdery mildew is characterized by a powdery white fungal growth on the foliage, while the pathogen that bacterial leaf scorch blocks the water flow to the leaves, causing wilt and eventual plant death.


Birches (Betula spp.) are medium to large deciduous trees. They are prone to numerous pests, diseases and environmental problems and are relatively short-lived, especially in hot, dry areas where they may only survive for 20 years. Birches grow best in full sun in moderately moist soil. They need regular irrigation when planted in dry, sandy soil.

Yellow or brown foliage is a symptom of leaf scorch of birches. It is caused by hot, dry winds, drought or a nutrient deficiency. Affected trees usually recover once normal conditions return. Tattered leaves on birch trees are caused by freeze damage that occurred to the leaf buds before they opened, and no treatment is necessary. Several conditions cause the bark to split on the trunk or branches of birch trees. Vigorous growth caused by wet conditions after a dry spell can result in splitting bark. Severe cold weather followed by a rapid thaw causes frost cracks, and areas of bark damaged by sun scald can also split.

The most widespread pest on birches is the bronze birch borer. The birch leaf miner and the birch skeletonizer are also commonly found on birches. Other pests on birch trees include aphids, caterpillars, leafhoppers, sawflies and worms. Pests can be controlled with an insecticide approved for birch trees. Apply the pesticide according to the manufacturer's directions.
Birch trees are susceptible to several fungal and bacterial diseases that cause leaf blisters, leaf spots and leaf rust. Most diseases of the leaves are not harmful. Other fungi cause twig die-back and cankers, which are dead areas of bark. Powdery mildew is a white to gray fungus that grows on leaves and stems in warm, moist conditions. Sooty mold is a fuzzy, gray fungus that grows on the honeydew secreted by the aphids. Some fungal diseases can be treated with fungicides approved for birch trees and applied following the manufacturer's instructions. Some fungal diseases, especially cankers, have no treatment and cause the tree to decline and die.


A full grown live oak is a thing of beauty. Living up to 100 years, live oaks can grow to 85 feet tall with a large canopy reaching 132 feet wide. The wood of live oak is a dense hardwood and commonly used in manufacturing of furniture. Live oaks keep their leaves year around. The fruit of the live oak is the acorn, which is harvested by humans and animals. Live oaks are hardy trees, but there are a few problems that may damage or kill your live oak.

Aphids can appear on your live oak in the spring. They feed on new growth and cause affected leaves to curl. Aphids also produce honey dew, which can encourage the growth of fungus. The tent caterpillar also feeds on the leaves, causing extensive leave drop. Scale insects have also been known to infect live oak trees. If left untreated, these insects can seriously damage your tree. At the first sign of infection, treat with an insecticidal soap or a insecticide.

Oak Root Fungus disease comes from fungus and mold resulting from over-watering or shallow water tables. The live oak tree's natural conditions are warm summers, and this disease is more common in irrigated landscapes. When the roots are infected, the trunk stops growing and a flat side appears on the trunk of the tree. This fungus can cause the leaves to fall or in extreme infection, the entire canopy of the tree can turn brown. The top of the tree may lose its leaves, or the entire canopy thins. Use fungicides to eliminate this fungus, but with severe infections, it may be necessary to remove the tree.

This condition is more common in humid locations such as along the coastline. Powdery mildew affects new growth on the tree and cause malformed twigs that splinter. Leaves appear white or yellow and are malformed. Frequent irrigation increases the likeliness of powdery mildew infections. This disease can kill your tree. At the first sign of infection, treat your tree with a fungicide.
Anthracnose is a fungal disease common along the coast in the live oaks in southern California. Rainfall activates the Anthracnose spores in dead twigs and begins to affect new leaves, spreading from the lower branches up. Leaves discolor and then fall. Warm, wet weather encourages this disease. It will clear by itself in dry weather but sprays of thiophanate-methyl have been known to retard this disease.

Although a well-known and much loved Christmas tradition, mistletoe is a parasitic plant that feeds on trees such as the live oak. Mistletoe grows high in the canopy of the trees and can cause branches to die. Female mistletoe plants produce white berries which attract birds. The birds eat the berries and subsequently spread the mistletoe to new trees. Although the mistletoe drains nutrients from the tree, it shouldn't kill it. However, if your tree is already infected by a disease or insect infestation, mistletoe could stunt your tree's growth. Mistletoe is difficult to eradicate. Removal of all infected branches as soon as the mistletoe appears is recommended but in larger branches, you can remove the mistletoe by cutting it from the branch and then wrapping the area with heavy black plastic to stop re-growth.

Usually caused by a heart rot fungus, wood decay usually starts at the base of the trunk. Although not all mushrooms indicate wood decay, large mushrooms can form around the base of the tree or on the tree trunk. Another indication of wood decay is the presence of the the Ambrosia beetle. Many fungi can cause the wood of the live oak to rot. Treatment with insecticide and fungicide may preserve your tree, but in severe infestations, the live oak tree must be removed to avoid damage to surrounding plants or structure.

Spraying: Foliar Insect Control
Spraying: Dormant Oil
Spraying: Foliar Fungal Prevention Program
Injections: Nutrient
Injections: Insect Management
Injections: Fungicide
Injections: Antibiotics
Trimming and Removal
Deer and Varmint Repellent