The Texas cottonwood is a short, wide tree that grows best along ponds or rivers. Texas cottonwoods have greenish-tan bark, green leaves that turn bright yellow in the fall, and a cotton-like substance that grows off the leaves. These trees are a beautiful addition to a yard along the water. Texas cottonwoods are also a great "for now" landscaping choice while you try to decide on more permanent, higher maintenance trees as the cottonwoods don't have a terribly long lifespan.
Despite the Texas cottonwood's shorter lifespan, there are still steps you can take to keep the tree healthy and hearty for as long as possible. One of those steps is to watch for the common tree diseases that can strike this type of tree. Learn the symptoms of these diseases so that you can call in a tree service for help.
Fungus-caused canker disease creates open wounds on the bark of the tree. The interior of the wounds will darken or blacken and can start to emit a smelly sap. The interior rim of the wound can turn reddish in color. Leaves on the affected branches can become prematurely yellow, shrivel, and then fall off the tree.
Canker disease only strikes bark and branches that have received prior damage due to a pruning shear slip or wind damage. You can eliminate the canker disease by calling in a tree service to carefully trim away any affected branches. Leave the trimming to the professionals so that you don't slip with the equipment and damage another branch, which would then be vulnerable to canker.
Heart rot is another type of fungal disease that can strike a Texas cottonwood. The disease will create knobs or knots on the surface of the bark. The bark can become softer to the touch in the affected areas and will likely become discolored.
Your tree service can keep the symptoms of heart rot at bay by trimming away the knobs and any branches that have become dangerously soft. The heart rot can eventually kill a tree but with the shorter lifespans of Texas cottonwoods your tree service can likely keep the tree mostly healthy through its natural lifespan.
If significant heart rot has already occurred, call a tree removal service to extract the tree to prevent the disease from spreading elsewhere.
Powdery mildew is yet another fungal disease that can strike a cottonwood, but this time the damage is purely cosmetic. The fungus can cause a white fuzz to form on the leaves of the tree. This fuzz can sometimes grow thick enough to block photosynthesis and cause the leaves to prematurely wither and fall off the tree.
You can keep powdery mildew at bay by having your tree service trim affected leaves and then apply a fungicide. The problem will often disappear on its own between growing seasons so fungicide might not be required. For more information about tree diseases, contact a business such as Chudy Tree Care.