Leaf Spot in Alabama: Identification, Impact, and Solutions with Ace Tree Services
Leaf spot, a common fungal disease, can impact various trees and shrubs across Alabama, including the Birmingham and Huntsville regions.
Ace Tree Services is committed to providing valuable information about leaf spot, its effects on trees and shrubs, and how our company can help eliminate this issue.
What is Fungal Leaf Spot?
Leaf spot is caused by several species of fungi and can affect a wide range of trees and shrubs in our region, particularly during cool, wet weather and periods of active growth. The disease initially manifests as tiny, circular spots on both the upper and lower surfaces of young, expanding leaves. These spots may eventually merge into larger blotches if the disease progresses. Mature leaves typically exhibit ash brown to light gray spots with a distinctive deep red or brownish border. Tiny black specks may also be visible in the center of each spot.
Although low levels of leaf spot mainly cause cosmetic damage, severe infections can result in early and significant leaf drop.
How Does Leaf Spot Survive and Spread?
Leaf spot fungi primarily survive and spread through spots on leaves and young shoots. Spores are released from the fungal spore-producing structures in the center of the spots during wet weather, from late winter through much of the year, except for hot summer periods. These spores are then dispersed to healthy foliage by a combination of splashing water and wind, causing new leaf spot symptoms to appear within 10-14 days after a wet infection period.
Effective Measures Against Leaf Spot
Ace Tree Services recommends several practices to prevent and control leaf spot in Alabama:
Space plants to improve air circulation and promote rapid drying of leaf surfaces.
Avoid wetting foliage during irrigation, or water during midday to reduce the time foliage remains wet.
Remove fallen diseased leaves to minimize sources of infection.
Practice good sanitation and sterilize tools before pruning each plant.
Limit summer pruning, as it promotes continual new growth.
Heavily prune severely defoliated plants to improve air movement and facilitate spray application.
Remove and replace severely diseased plants with non-susceptible species.
Apply protective fungicide sprays during extended cool, wet periods, beginning with new growth in the spring and continuing throughout the growing season. Fungicide applications are typically unnecessary during hot, dry periods. Consider 3-4 applications from mid-October to late November if wet weather persists.
Ace Tree Services is dedicated to addressing leaf spot in the Birmingham and Huntsville areas of Alabama. By providing valuable information and effective solutions, we aim to help maintain the health and beauty of our region's trees and shrubs. Call an ISA certified arborist from Ace Tree Service at (205) 332-7757!