Basswood trees are large, shade-giving trees with dark gray, furrowed branches and distinctive heart-shaped leaves that hang in clusters and turn from bright green to a vivid yellow in the fall. The basswood, which is also called the American linden, also has fragrant yellow flowers that make the tree a beautiful and aromatic addition to a larger yard.
If you are considering planting a basswood tree, discuss with a nursery whether the tree is a good fit for your soil type and planting location. Once the decision is made, you need to learn about some of the common tree diseases and insects that can strike basswood trees and how calling in a tree care service early can often spare the tree from further damage.
Anthracnose Leaf Blight
Anthracnose leaf blight is a leaf-destroying disease that comes from a fungal infection. Early warning signs are leaves that grow with black or brown spots during the spring growing cycle. The affected leaves can continue to grow and pink pustules can form on the surfaces. Affected leaves won't reach full size and will likely fall from the tree prematurely.
Call in a tree care service as soon as you suspect anthracnose for prompt treatment. Pruning off affected leaves and clearing away the ones that have already fallen to the ground can help stop the disease's spread while also improving the appearance of the tree. Once all the leaves have shed in the fall, the tree care service can dig up the soil around the tree and apply new fertilizer that can detract the leaf blight from returning for the next growing season.
Verticillium wilt is a fungal tree disease that targets and weakens the basswood tree's root system. The wilt then travels through the tree's vascular system causing damage and potentially blocking the path for important nutrients. Early symptoms are found on the leaves, which will grow overly small, brown around the edges, and then prematurely drop off the tree.
Wilt can cause the death of young trees or older trees that are in poor health and there's not a lot that a tree service can do to stop that process. Once the tree is dead, ask the tree service to completely remove the tree and fertilize the soil so that the disease doesn't try to spread to any other trees.
If your tree is older and in good health, or particularly resilient, the tree can fight off wilt on its own. A tree service can still remove the affected and dropping leaves for cosmetic help and an off-season application of fertilizer to the soil can lessen the chances of wilt returning.
Adult linden borer insects are dark green beetles with black spots, but it is the larvae that you need to watch as they cause the damage to your basswood tree. The small, white larvae bore or tunnel through the bark to eat the tissues inside. The damage can range from minor to severe enough that the branches will fall off, though the latter usually only happens in severe infestations where no action was taken.
Your tree care service can apply insecticide and prune away any infected branches to help prevent the borers from thriving. The actions might not fully remove the existing borers but can dwindle their influence until the natural life cycle of the pest ends in a couple of years. Contact a business such as Tree Smart Inc for more information about tree health.