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Leaf Spot

Leaf Spot is a fungal disease that affects a number of different types of trees and shrubs. It weakens the plant by interrupting photosynthesis. 

Tiny reddish-brown spots appear on the leaves of infected plants and darken as the leaves mature. Spore forming bodies eventually appear in the center of the spots. These spores overwinter on fallen leaves and spread from infected tissue to healthy leaves by splashing raindrops or irrigation.

There are an number of things that, when done together, can reduce leaf spot in years following:

  1. Rake up and destroy fallen leaves before the first snowfall to eliminate locations where diseases can survive to re-infect the plant the following growing season.
  2. Do not overcrowd plants — use size at maturity as a spacing guide when planting.
  3. Prune trees or shrubs to increase light penetration and improve air circulation throughout the canopy.
  4. Wet conditions promote disease, so water trees and shrubs at the base and be careful not to splash water on leaves. A dripline or soaker hose works best for this. Avoid watering plants with sprinklers.
  5. Reduce stress to your trees and shrubs:
    • Water your tree throughout the growing season so that the top 6 to 8 inches of the soil is moist, especially during dry summer periods. The soil should be allowed to dry before watering again.
    • Maintain a 3 to 4 inch deep layer of mulch around your tree. Do not mound the mulch around the trunk of the tree but lay a flat layer with at least a 2 inches of space between the mulch and stem to allow for air movement. Annually reapply mulch and inspect to ensure levels are maintained.
  6. Do not fertilize trees and shrubs suffering from leaf spot diseases. 
Leaf Spot


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