Beech Tree Canker
Weeping canker is a disease that tends to invade mature beech trees that are under stress. This disease, caused by the fungus phytophthora, kills localized areas of the bark and sapwood, especially on the root flare and lower trunk and often has a brown liquid oozing from the lesions. Ambrosia beetles are attracted to the alcohol in this liquid and they subsequently invade the tree as a secondary pest. Beech prefer fertile soils that are slightly acid, well drained and that contain organic matter. Their roots are very shallow and are sensitive to grade changes, soil compaction, drought stress and competition from turf grass and ground covers. Extremes in soil moisture levels will weaken the trees making them susceptible to insect and disease problems.
Proper irrigation during dry periods can help to keep beech trees healthy and less likely to get canker disease. In some cases it may be beneficial to have the soil under part or all of the canopy air spaded, incorporating organic material if necessary. This would help increase root growth in the area. Soil injections of a growth regulator, and or proper fertilization, have also been shown to increase fibrous root growth and condense chlorophyll in the foliage. When weeping canker is found, basal trunk spraying with the proper fungicide and surfactant have been shown to be quite effective. An additional pesticide should be used at this time to prevent attack by boring ambrosia beetles, which are attracted to the scent of the existing canker wounds in the beech, opening up more wounds, through which additional canker fungi can easily enter the tree. The canker can be easily controlled if it is treated before it has a chance to progress to an advanced stage. If left untreated, it will lead to the slow decline, and eventual death of the tree.
Contact Plant Health Solutions for diagnosis and to develop a treatment plan.