Useful Forestry and Tree Pathology Links
Trees are subject to attack by a variety of pathogens or diseases. These diseases are usually caused by fungus or bacteria, but can also be caused by viruses and other organisms. In many cases when a tree has a disease, there are many other factors that have contributed to stress the tree, and allow the disease organism to enter and spread within the tree. These factors may include soil disturbances or compaction, physical damage to part of the tree, local conditions (especially excessive or not enough moisture), and the presence of innoculum in the area. Forest tree diseases may only affect the appearance of trees or they may cause deformities, reduce growth, weaken the tree allowing attacks by insects and other diseases, or even cause the death of individual trees or in rare cases entire sections a forest.
Noninfectious tree diseases are those caused by nonliving agents. This type of disease is not transmitted from one plant to another. Extremes in temperature and water supply are the most common causes of this type of disease. Other causes are chemical substances in the soil, water, and air, transplant shock, and mechanical injuries. These nonliving disease agents are a major cause of loss in forest and landscape trees. Often they weaken the tree, enabling living agents such as fungi, bacteria, viruses, nematodes, and insects to attack and further injure or kill the tree. These living agents may build up on trees weakened by noninfectious agents and threaten the health of nearby trees. Superficially, the symptoms of noninfectious diseases may resemble those produced by insects or fungi. If no signs of these organisms are present, the tree may have been affected by one of the agents described here. Even if signs of fungi or insects are present, a nonliving agent may be the underlying cause of your tree's problems. In most cases, prevention is the key to minimizing injury.Good cultural practices and tree care is essential in keeping a tree vigorous and healthy. Like humans or livestock, vigorous trees are more likely to fend off diseases than are weakened or stressed trees.
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This page was last updated July 22, 2015.