If you have a maple tree, you might be thinking to yourself, “Black spots on maple leaves? What’s up with that?”
A black spot, also known as a tar spot, is a fungal infection that produces black spots on the leaves of Norway, Manitoba, silver, and sugar maple trees. Tar spot is a foliar disease, meaning the spores don’t disturb other portions of maple trees.
The fungi blamable for tar spot disease stays alive in the wintertime on fallen leaves. If these leaves remain in the yard, fungal spores are scattered to maple trees in the springtime. Spores are created from the remaining fallen leaves and are spread by air currents to freshly developing maple leaves.
While tar spots are unappealing, the good news is that this fungal disease doesn’t hurt the maple tree itself. Tar spots mature late enough in the growing season that they don’t typically affect the tree’s well-being.
When the fungal spores contaminate young leaves in the first part of the season, they don’t continue to instigate new infections during the summer. The infections first show up as light green or yellow spots on the leaves at the beginning of summer. By the end of summer, the diseases have a black appearance.
If you disregard tar spot and let the leaves stay on the ground during the winter, your maples will again produce tar spots the following year. If you get rid of the infected leaves, you diminish the chances of the tree being diseased the next year.
Trees that have an issue with tar spots every year might also be battling with excessive moisture. You’ll do them a huge favor if you multiply the grade around them to remove standing water and stop moisture build-up. Young trees may need treatment, mainly if other trees have had a lot of their leaves covered by tar spots in the recent past.
If you’re potting a young maple in a space predisposed to tar spot, using a fungicide, like mancozeb and triadimefon, is recommended.
Buffalo Tree Service wants to help you in every aspect of tree care available. We are here to give you tips, tricks, and helpful hints to make sure that you give all the love you can to your trees!
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