This spring my blue oak tree’s leaves are changing to reddish brown and falling off. What is happening?

Both prolonged drought and a leaf disease called anthracnose (highly infectious during very wet years) can cause early leaf drop, especially in blue oaks, but also in other oak species. So, a single year of early leaf drop is almost never problematic.  Leaves should reemerge next year.  You may observe some die back of a […]

How long can Phytophthora ramorum survive in wood chip mulch?

Survival of P. ramorum (SOD pathogen) in wood chips depends on a few factors: Were the chips allowed to become wet? What size are the chips? Is green waste present? What time of year was the wood chipped? Where in California are the chips located? Chips that are piled wet or tarped and include infected […]

How long can Phytophthora ramorum survive in soil moved from an infested area?

Survival of P. ramorum (SOD pathogen) in dead hosts or non-plant substrates is extremely variable and strongly affected by climatic factors. Although a comprehensive study on this topic has not conducted, extrapolating from several studies we can say the following: Soil becomes more infectious from late winter to early summer in the presence of rainfall, […]

What can cause leaf tip scorch on redwood trees?

Leaf tip scorch symptoms on redwood trees are found from the lower to upper canopy and include healthy leaves interspersed with brown and grey leaves or portions of leaves. Grey leaves typically have black margins into the healthy tissue. Such symptoms are typically caused by a fungus called Pestalotiopsis funerea. They are commonly associated with […]

Bark beetles are attacking my oak. Will they kill the tree? What should I do?

Once bark beetles attack the main stem (trunk) of an oak, the tree is on its way out.  Insecticide treatments will not save it. Oak beetles are attracted to trees that are severely compromised.  They cannot attack healthy trees. The correct approach to avoid bark beetle infestations is not to apply insecticides, but rather to […]

My coast live oak trunk is oozing. I sprayed the bark in January. Can you estimate how long it will be before the tree fails and we have to remove it?

The symptoms on your oak may be caused by a range of issues. If oozing is accompanied by the presence of fine sawdust, then the tree is dying. Even if it is still green you may want to consider removing it if its failure may cause harm to people or property. The fine sawdust is […]

Are there any treatments available for an oak with Armillaria (oak root fungus)?

Once an oak has the oak root fungus Armillaria (often due to excessive watering),  most treatments will be ineffective. Be sure the base of the tree is free of mulch and other organic debris and slightly expose the root system at the root collar. While fertilizing may not help, try using one bark application of […]

My pear tree was looking great. Within a week one of the limbs died and now it looks like the whole tree is dying.

It sounds like your tree is having problems providing enough water to the canopy to keep the foliage and cambium alive. If you are not watering it, that may be the problem. If you are watering it, your tree may have contracted a root disease. In that case, it is important to clear all organic […]

Armillaria is slowly killing my Thuja hedge. What is a comparable replacement hedge that will give me the same amount of privacy and be resistant to this fungus?

The first question to ask is what type of irrigation is being used currently on the hedge. Most landscape oak root fungus problems are due to overwatering in summer months. However, Thuja orientalis (=Platycladus orientalis) is quite susceptible to Armillaria even without heavy irrigation as highly susceptible species do not require excessively high soil moisture […]

Is it okay to prune coast live oaks in the winter if there is no SOD inoculum in the area? Are there other pests that are active in the winter that are of concern?

Although there may be few insects flying in the winter, the wet winter season (actually fall through spring) is a prime time for production of fruiting bodies by many wood decay fungi. The combination of fresh pruning wounds (especially large wounds), high spore densities of wood decay fungi, and moist conditions (favoring spore germination) can […]

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