Sycamore Anthracnose

There’s a bunch of really big, really beautiful sycamore trees on our street. Last week, they all started dropping leaves, which was… worrisome. They still have plenty of leaves, but the drifts of crumpled green leaves by the curbs have been disconcerting.

I called up West Chester’s arborist, Debbie (another great thing about West Chester — YOU CAN TALK TO THE ARBORIST), and she says that the sycamores have (gulp!)Sycamore Anthracnose. If I understood her right, this is a fungus that is always present to some degree, but under certain conditions, the fungus really flourishes, and that’s bad news for the tree.

Apparently, the conditions have been really good (for fungus) and bad (for trees) for the past year:

  • Drought last year — the effects of a drought show up in the next growing season, apparently
  • No hard frost over the winter — hard frost helps keep the fungus under control
  • Lots of rainy weather between 55 and 75 degrees — perfect fungus-growing weather (Ick!)

So naturally, the first thing we all are visualizing is what our street will look like SUDDENLY WITH NO TREES, but Debbie says that this isn’t a “ZOMG TREE AIDS!!!” type of a situation. If the conditions continue to be fungus good/tree bad, the trees would have a “slow decline”, but we can fight that with watering and fertilizer. There’s something to do with spikes, too. How do you go about watering a 100-foot Sycamore? I guess the ansswer might be “very diligently.”

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