Checking local trees for invasive species and fungus

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Weird spots have been popping up on maple leaves throughout New York that has left some people worried.

You may have been noticing brown and black spots on your maple leaves, while they’re not very pretty, you do not have to be worried.

“It’s a fungus called rhytisma and we see a little bit of it every year,” David Chinery, Horticulturist at Cornell Cooperative Extension, said.

Due to the heavy rainfall this summer, the growth of the fungus is seen more prominently throughout upstate New York. It mostly just affects Norway maple trees.

“As far as the long term health of the tree goes, it probably won’t be impacted. The tree will probably be fine.”

Mainly this will just make the Norway maple trees drop their leaves a bit sooner than usual.

“It’s not going to look very good in the fall but luckily sugar maple, which doesn’t get this disease, is probably going to be beautiful.”

What is a cause for concern is the Emerald Ash Borer, which can kill the ash trees. Ash trees make up around seven to 11 percent of the state’s trees and in other places such as the Adirondacks they make up around 35 percent of the trees.

“They should be looking at the top of the ash tree especially and if they can see little pieces of bark that are missing. That means the wood peckers have been in the tree and are eating the larvae of the emerald ash borer.”

An arborist can inject insecticides into the ash tree every few years to save it once it has been infected, but it would cost a couple hundred dollars each time. Otherwise, the tree eventually will have to be removed.

“They need to take the ash tree down before it completely dies because ash is a very brittle wood and it will fall and cause a hazard.”

So the best suggestion is to keep checking your trees to make sure they are staying healthy.

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