Maple Tree Disease Can Cause Leaf Loss But Is Not Dangerous, Expert Says

Andy Dahn
August 19, 2019 - 4:02 pm

Morton Arboretum/Facebook

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LISLE (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- It's a universal sign of fall, but experts say a disease may be to blame for your tree's falling leaves.

"There is a fungal disease called tar spot, which is very prevalent during years when we have cool, wet springs," said Julie Janoski, Plant Clinics Manager at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle. "We really start to notice the symptoms on maple trees, it's specific to maple trees, now."

And she said plenty of people are starting to see its effects.

"We are getting probably eight to 10 calls a week on it right now," Janoski said. "As people start to see those falling leaves and start to notice those black spots, we will probably get more."

The good news, though, is that the disease is not harmful to trees, she said, so she doesn't recommend any special treatment. 

But she said overall stress on trees is something to keep in mind, especially after a string of wacky weather.

"Water your trees consistently," she said on tree advice.

To learn more about arbiculture and how to care for trees, visit the Morton Arboretum website