5 common tree diseases in Queensland and how to fix them

You may not give too much thought to the concept of trees getting sick, but just like us, they can suffer from diseases! Tree diseases can cause problems from stunning growth, discolouration, poor canopy cover and failure to thrive. If not treated, disease can spread and trees can even die.

In Queensland we come across a variety of pests and diseases that affect trees, young and old, big and small. Here are some of the more common ones to look out for in Queensland

5 common tree diseases in South East Queensland

Brown root rot (Phellinus noxius)

This disease is a tree fungus that causes roots to rot and decay to the point of water and nutrients being unable to penetrate them; causing the tree to die. It generally occurs along the east coast of Australia all the way down to northern NSW. This disease is difficult to control and trees with it should be removed, along with their roots to reduce the risk of spreading to others.

Myrtle Rust

This fungal disease affects plants such as the Lilly Pilly, Paperbark, Eucalyptus and Bottlebrush (all from the Myrtaceae family). This serious, fast spreading disease attacks young stems, growing leaves as well as fruit and flowers. You can spot it from it’s noticeable purple spots that have bright yellow spores.

Cypress Canker

Another fungal disease, this one presents itself with deep red cankers on branches. These cankers can kill trees extremely quickly. The dead branch turns yellow and releases spores which means infection spreads to other branches. If you spot signs of Cypress Canker on one or two branches, remove the affected limbs completely. If it keeps spreading, you’ll have to remove the tree entirely to prevent the disease spreading to other trees.

Anthracnose

Yes, another fungal disease! This group of fungus affects a large variety of trees and plants. It presents itself as sunken legions, and holes in leaves, flowers and stems. This disease is most commonly found in humid areas and thrives in the damp, it’s no wonder trees in South East Queensland are at risk!

Teratosphaeria epicoccoides (a Kirramyces leaf disease)

This disease presents itself with small purple spots that eventually expand and cover the entire leaf surface. The underside of the lead may be covered with brown/black spores, giving it a charcoal like appearance. If not treated, complete defoliation can occur.

You can find a more comprehensive list of diseases and pests that are commonly found in Queensland here.

As with everything prevention is better than cure; how to avoid tree diseases in Queensland

  • Ensure your trees have optimum growing conditions; enough light, water and healthy soil,
  • Maintain soil health by adding organic matter and organic fertiliser supplements,
  • Regularly inspect trees for signs of disease so you can treat them early.

If you suspect something is wrong and are unsure as to whether your trees are suffering from any pests or diseases, our experienced team can diagnose any problems with your tree’s health and provide solutions to either bring them back to health or at a minimum, stop them spreading to your other foliage!

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