The aspen tree is a common sight in North America. It is one of the most widespread tree species in the United States. These large trees reach heights of 65 feet or more, although they do not typically have a very long lifespan. Many aspens live for only about 20 years, though a few varieties live quite a bit longer.
Aspen tree care is a bit more involved than care for other tree species. They require full sun, good soil and plenty of water. They are also sensitive to many pests and diseases. Here are a few common aspen tree problems, and what you can do to fix them.
Canker diseases, such as Cytospora, are quite common in aspens. The comparably delicate bark of the aspen tree makes it susceptible to injuries. When the bark is injured, the openings allow fungus to get in and damage the tree, causing large cankers on the trunk. If caught early, your aspen may be saved by removing the affected branches. If the cankers have spread to the trunk of your tree, it's usually too late and your tree will probably need to be replaced.
Rust and leaf spot diseases are also common in aspens. These diseases cause the leaves of your tree to be covered in spots and pustules. To remedy these types of leaf problems, be sure to remove and destroy all affected leaves in the fall, to prevent recurrence in the spring. Excess moisture is the primary cause of rusts and leaf spots. Only water your tree in the morning, to allow the leaves to dry out. Water the tree at the base and make sure that water doesn't splash onto the leaves.
Aphids are a common pest on aspen trees. Even if you don't see the bugs themselves on the tree, you can usually tell they're there by the sticky substance they leave behind, called honeydew. Aphids can be removed by using insecticide soap or by introducing ladybugs into your yard. Ladybugs are a natural predator of aphids. You can order ladybugs online or through a local nursery if you don't have enough of them in your yard.
Another common aspen tree pest is the Aspen Twig Gall Fly. These insects create large round lumps on the twigs of your aspen when they deposit their eggs in early spring. While these galls are not pretty, they are not harmful to the tree. If your tree is affected, there isn't much you can do about it, as there really is no effective control for Aspen Twig Gall Fly.
Because aspens are susceptible to hundreds of different parasites, fungus and pests, it can sometimes be difficult to diagnose and treat your aspen tree's problems. When in doubt, you may want to consult an aspen tree service company. While these trees are a bit high-maintenance, their beauty makes up for the extra effort.
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