September 1, 2014

Standish area trees suffering from tar spots

James Kuch
Norway maple trees affected with tar spots are mainly on Orchard and Grove streets, but can be found across the city of Standish.
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STANDISH — A number of trees around Standish have been infected with a disease known as tar spots.

The trees affected by the disease are Norway maple trees and crimson king maples.

City Manager Mike Moran said that he and other city members noticed trees on Grove Street losing leaves, giving the appearance that they may be dying.

“I noticed this back in June, and it seems to be spreading around the community,” Moran said. “Thought it might have something to do with all the rain we had, but maple trees require a lot of water.”

Moran then sent a sample to Paul Begick, co-owner of Begick Nursery and Garden Center in Bay City. He said Begick sent the sample to Michigan State University Department of Agriculture to be examined.

After looking at the trees, Begick said that the trees have tar spots.

“The disease is not fatal,” Begick said. “Even though there is considerable drying of the leaves and defoliation, the trees will not die.”

Begick said that the buds for next year’s growth are viable and developing normally.

To ensure that the trees develop normally for next year Begick said there are a number of steps that need to be taken.

“First, the trees should be kept well watered right up till ground freezes,” he said. “This will reduce the carryover of the disease to next year.”

Begick added that the leaves should be raked up and destroyed, which will reduce the number of spores for infection for next year.

“As far as any spraying to control the disease, that (should) be done in spring,” he said. “The success of spraying is not 100 percent by any means. Timing of application is important, and most times two applications is necessary.

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