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Florida Tree Diseases, Fungi and their Potential Dangers

By: McCullough Tree Service| On: August 13, 2021

Just like humans, Central Florida trees show signs when they are unwell. Where we may sniffle or run a fever, trees can drop leaves, get root parasites, or develop stem cankers, depending on what’s wrong. A Florida tree fungus or disease can weaken your trees.

There are two general categories of tree disease: non-living or abiotic; and living, or biotic, also known as a pathogen, like a fungus.

Here are some of the most common Florida tree fungi and diseases

Florida Tree Fungi

Pine Needle Rust

A conifer, or pine tree, might drop needles and show pine needle rust. Pine needle rust is a disease inflicted by the Florida tree fungi, Coleosparium.

The disease’s name comes from the rust like discoloration of the pine needles on the tree. If the infection is widespread, it can impair tree growth.

Signs that a pine tree has needle rust:

  • Infected needles have yellow and orange spots in spring
  • White tubes rest on the needles
  • The tree is ejecting orange spores

Fusiform Rust

The pine disease, fusiform rust, is another Florida tree disease caused by a fungus. The fungus, Cronartium Quercuum, causes fusiform rust in loblolly and slash pines.

Fusiform rust creates a rust-colored growth on a tree’s trunk or limbs. The fungal disease can wreak havoc on the tree’s structural stability. Wind and stem breakage will become a potential hazard for any tree infected with fusiform rust.

Signs that a pine tree has fusiform rust:

  • Yellowish-orange bumps bark
  • Long outgrowths on the main stem
  • “Rusty” spores within a broken trunk or branch

Florida Tree Diseases

Insects, like tussock moths, prefer oaks, eating the leaves and building webs. Tussock moths feasting can cause and oak to become unhealthy and die if untreated.

Here are other common Florida tree diseases:

  • Heart Rot: the tree decays from inside of the trunk
  • Hispidus Cankers: longish, narrow areas of decay on the outside of a tree trunk
  • Nematodes: parasitic worms that attach to tree roots underground
  • Sand Pine Root Disease: A disease caused by more than one kind of pathogen. This is deemed the most serious diseased amongst sand pines in Florida.

Should I Remove A Sick Tree?

A sick tree doesn’t always mean the tree can’t be saved, but for many reasons — for tree health, for your safety and the protection of your property — it pays to have a sick tree checked out. Tree diseases, left untreated, will eventually weaken the tree’s structural integrity. In Florida, with our active hurricane season, it’s imperative that potentially weakened tree trunks or limbs are inspected by an expert.

Reduce Your Risk!
McCullough Tree Service comes out to inspect trees often for our valued clients. We educate home and business owners on their options if there is a diseased tree on their property. These options can range from sprays to injections to trimming to removal, depending on what’s wrong.

Weakened trees are not something we need in Florida, which is in a hurricane zone. Call McCullough Tree Service today and get an expert opinion.