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Got spots? Don’t fret

Got SpotsBy MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@southwesttimes.com

 

Got spots on the leaves of your maple tree? If so, don’t worry; it shouldn’t harm your tree.

Scott McElfresh, agriculture extension agent for Pulaski County Cooperative Extension, said grey, tan, brown and purple spots have been appearing on the leaves of a number of area maple trees. Samples sent to the pathology lab at Virginia Tech determined the problem to be Mycosphaerella Leaf Spot.

“With the weather being as wet as it has, fungal leaf spots have been more prevalent this year than in recent years,” he said. “There is no treatment, and as the leaves begin to change color, they will probably show more and more of these spots.”

He said tree owners can take comfort in the fact the fungus isn’t impacting the long-term health of the tree.

However, that doesn’t mean the leaves should be ignored because the fungus spores could overwinter and reappear next year.

McElfresh said the best way to be rid of the problem is to rake up the leaves after they fall, place them in plastic bags and properly dispose of them. “This will help eliminate the spot causing spores and hopefully reduce the fungal spores next year,” he said.

Do not use the leaves for mulching either because the spores will attack the trees again next year when conditions are right for the fungus to flourish.

“So, enjoy the color change, remove those leaves, and your maple should grow back with green leaves next spring,” McElfresh concluded.