Tree Troubles: Identifying and Treating Common Tree Diseases in Indiana

Indiana, renowned for its diverse and gorgeous forest landscapes, is home to an array of tree species. However, these stunning giants are not impervious to harm. They can fall prey to a multitude of tree diseases that can affect their health and longevity. As inhabitants of this beautiful state, it is our collective responsibility to identify and combat these diseases, preserving the natural beauty that defines Indiana.

This blog post aims to shed light on common tree diseases prevalent in Indiana, effective identification methods, and the subsequent treatment options. Whether you’re a homeowner with a backyard full of trees or a tree doctor seeking additional knowledge, this guide will provide the crucial information you need to keep our trees healthy and thriving.

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Dutch Elm Disease

Common Tree Diseases in Indiana

As with any living organism, trees are susceptible to diseases caused by fungi, bacteria, viruses, and environmental factors. Some of the most common tree diseases found in Indiana include Dutch Elm Disease, Oak Wilt, and Anthracnose.

Dutch Elm Disease: This disease is caused by a fungus that attacks elm trees and can result in the death of the tree within a few years. It is transmitted through elm bark beetles, which carry spores from infected trees to healthy ones. Symptoms include yellowing and wilting of leaves, branch dieback, and ultimately, the death of the tree.

Oak Wilt: Another fungal disease that affects oak trees, Oak Wilt can be fatal if left untreated. It spreads through root grafts and insect vectors, resulting in leaf discoloration, wilting, and defoliation. In severe cases, the tree may die within a matter of weeks.

Anthracnose: This is a fungal disease that can affect various tree species, including maple, ash, and oak trees. It causes dark lesions on leaves, leading to defoliation and dieback of branches. While not usually fatal, it can weaken the tree’s overall health and make it more susceptible to other diseases.

Identifying Tree Diseases

Early detection is key when it comes to treating tree diseases effectively. Here are some signs to look out for while inspecting your trees:

Discolored or wilting leaves: If you notice leaves turning brown, yellow, or wilted, it could be a sign of a disease.

Fungal growth: The presence of fungus on the tree’s bark or leaves is a strong indicator of an infection.

Dieback or dead branches: Trees with dieback or dead branches may have an internal disease that needs to be addressed.

If you observe any of these symptoms, it is crucial to consult a professional tree doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Treating Tree Diseases

Treating tree diseases in Indiana requires a multi-faceted approach that involves both prevention and intervention strategies. Here are some methods commonly used by tree doctors, more formally known as certified arborists:

Pruning: Removing infected branches and leaves using proper tree pruning techniques can help prevent the spread of disease.

Fungicides: In some cases, fungicides can be applied to the tree to control the spread of fungal diseases.

Cultural practices: Properly maintaining your trees through regular watering, fertilizing, and mulching can help keep them healthy and resistant to diseases.

Tree injections: Some severe diseases may require injecting medication directly into a tree’s trunk for effective treatment.


As responsible citizens of Indiana, it is our duty to protect and preserve the stunning trees that adorn our state. By familiarizing ourselves with common tree diseases, identifying them early on, and seeking professional help when needed, we can ensure that our trees remain healthy for generations to come. Remember to always consult a certified tree doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment plans, as each tree disease may require a different approach. Let’s work together to keep Indiana’s forests flourishing!     

Are you concerned about the health or safety of your trees? Our team of experienced Indianapolis tree service contractors and certified arborists will ensure that your trees are well-maintained and safe for years to come. Contact us at 317-783-2518 to learn more about how we can help you keep your trees looking their best.

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Is My Tree Dead or Diseased?

Common Questions and Answers About Tree Diseases

Are some of your trees looking worse for wear these days? Have you noticed some foliage loss or increase pest activity around your favorite shrubs? It could be a result of a tree disease or natural health decline. Continue reading to review some of the most common questions about tree diseases and tree care, including their answers of course!

Indianapolis Tree Service Company 317-783-2518
Indianapolis Tree Service Company 317-783-2518

Is My Tree Dead?

You can tell if a tree is dead or alive with a few different methods. The easiest DIY method is the twig test. Snap off a branch and look at the tissue inside; if the twig is dry and brittle, snaps easily, and has dull or brown colored tissue inside, it is likely dead. If the twig has some bend or tension to it, and retains green or yellow tissue inside, it is likely still alive.

Keep in mind that a dead or dying tree is a dangerous one, and should be treated or removed as soon as possible. The best way to determine the condition of a tree is to hire a licensed Indianapolis tree service company to make the determination for you; they can do this in just one quick visit.

Is Moss Bad for a Tree?

When moss grows on trees, it can create a multitude of problems. It is best to remove the moss in a safe way to protect your trees. To remove moss from trees, you will mostly have to manage the water and moisture in your yard. Be sure to water your lawn less often, and avoid soaking the tree trunk and tree bark during the grass-watering process. It also helps to treat your soil so that the pH levels fall within the proper parameters. Use a soil testing kit to test the pH levels in your lawn, and then adjust them accordingly.

What is Oak Wilt?

Oak Wilt is a debilitating vascular fungal disease that affects all species of oak trees. It is caused by a fungus that enters and obstructs a tree’s inner vascular system where water and nutrients are distributed throughout the tree. It can be challenging identifying symptoms of this tree disease since live oaks and red oaks exhibit different signs of oak wilt. The most common sign in a live oak is veinal necrosis, which is evident when leaves develop chlorotic and necrotic veins, causing the leaf veins to turn yellow and brown, and then fall off.

Red oak trees infected with oak wilt do not experience veinal necrosis. Instead, leaves simply wilt and turn colors of pale green, brown, and bronze; but they do not usually drop off. The most common treatment for oak wilt is a series of bimonthly fungicide injections called Propiconazole, which is applied through macro-injection of the root flares.

What is Winter Burn?

Winter burn, also known as desiccation, is a potentially-fatal seasonal problem among evergreen trees. The most common causes for winter burn are insufficient levels of moisture in soil, freezing temperatures, and inclement winds. The signs of winter burn vary depending on the species of tree, however, gradual scale (ombre) needle coloring tends to be the most common.

Are Pests a Problem for Trees?

You definitely need to think about proper pest and insect control for your trees. Beetles, borers, mites, wildlife, and even tree diseases can quickly affect the health of a tree in the worst way. For instance, leaf-eating insects inhibit the tree’s ability to carry on the process of photosynthesis, thus rendering the tree sick and weak. It requires a professional arborist to positively identify, diagnose, and treat insect infestations and tree diseases.

My Tree Gets Water and Sunlight. So Why is it Unhealthy?

Trees don’t just flourish on water and sunlight alone. They also require a sufficient amount of nutrients, or tree food, for optimal growth and survival. Trees source their nutrients from the surrounding and underlying soil. Which means poor or inadequate soil conditions can cause adverse changes in a tree. If you suspect that your tree is suffering from a lack of nutrients, try fertilizing it to regain its strength and stability.

Where Can I Find Reliable Tree Service?

Call Complete Tree Care at 317-783-2518 for experienced tree service in Indianapolis and throughout Central Indiana. We offer a wide range of residential and commercial tree services, including tree removal, tree trimming, stump grinding, stump removal, lot clearing, and more. If you want professional and efficient service you can trust, Complete Tree Care is the right call!

Indianapolis Tree Care 317-783-2518
Indianapolis Tree Care 317-783-2518