Morton Arboretum Says Not To Worry About Spots On Maple Tree Leaves

Bernie Tafoya
October 04, 2018 - 10:43 am

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- An expert said you should not worry if you’re seeing dark spots on maple tree leaves in your neighborhood. 

Julie Janoski, the plant clinic manager at the Morton Arboretum, said calls have been coming in for the last couple of months about people worried about tar spots they’re seeing on maple leaves.

Janoski said the problem is more cosmetic than anything. Tar spots do not affect the long term health of your maple tree.

"Although it looks bad, it’s really not dangerous. It’s more ugly than anything," she said. "Because this is an infection that starts in the spring and fungal diseases are activated by wet weather, when we have particularly wet springs, you’re going to see a worse case of it towards the end of the year."

Janoski said you can limit the spread of tar spot "by raking up the leaves once they fall, but the reality is it’s pretty widespread and, it can be airborne so, if your neighbors are not doing the same thing that may or may not be effective."

Bottom line?  Janoski said, "generally, your tree will come back in the spring and look just fine."