How to Prevent Tree Diseases in Alberta

By: albertaarb - September 23, 2013

Homeowners must deal with tree diseases in Alberta so as to continue enjoying the shade and beauty trees add to their property. Keeping a tree healthy requires investment. This includes the cost of regular care, as well as the effort to prevent damage from insects and common diseases.

Proper Care Reduces Tree Diseases in Alberta

A newly planted tree should be checked regularly. In dry periods, three buckets of water twice a week or a slow trickle from the hose for about 20 minutes twice a week is sufficient. If water starts to pool, reduce the amount.

Established trees thrive with a different routine:

  •     Provide a good watering within the drip line once or twice a month during the growing season 
  •     Loosen soil under the canopy to promote root vigor and growth
  •     Fertilize established trees once or twice a year
  •     Mulch around the base of the tree to help retain moisture, but keep 2 inches clear around the trunk

There are several visible signs of tree diseases, they include browning, discoloring or unusual curling of leaves, defoliation or wilting of branch tips. Nutrients and water are a first remedial step, but a tree expert may have to be consulted if the problem persists.

Tree Disease Remediation in Alberta

Insects and diseases kill trees by affecting the cells used by trees to transport water and nutrients. There are a number of diseases and pests that commonly occur in trees, including:

  • Aphids, while not lethal, can weaken a tree; watch for these insects on new growth and under leaves; use a strong spray of clean water to remove aphids
  • Cottony ash psyllid, unless caught early, are difficult to control and can result in leaf curl and premature leaf drop in the summer; a soap/premethrin treatment in early June and early July is the remedial approach
  • Black knot fungus, while not lethal, is unsightly; prune and properly dispose of infected branches  
  • Bronze leaf disease can kill a tree within five years; prune and properly dispose of branches
  • Elm scale causes leaf wilt and branch dieback; early control involves applying dormant oil
  • Fire blight is potentially lethal, with diseased leaves turning red; pruning diseased branches
  • Yellow-Headed spruce sawfly can kill spruce trees in three years; remove larvae by hand or a strong water spray
  • Dutch Elm disease has so far not made inroads into Alberta, with the province being the last area in North America to be free of this disease 

Both diseases and insects can quickly wreak havoc. Many homeowners opt to have the condition of their trees checked professionally on a regular basis. Understanding how to identify and deal with tree diseases in Alberta is critical to maintaining the health and beauty of trees.

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