Walnut trees are beautiful and majestic. However, they are prone to a number of diseases. If your walnut tree has begun to develop lots of small sores or cankers all over its trunk and large limbs, it probably has a condition called thousand cankers disease. Here's what you need to know about this disease.
What causes thousand cankers disease?
Thousand cankers disease, like many tree diseases, is caused by fungi. The fungi are spread from tree to tree by a specific kind of beetle. The beetles tunnel into the tree bark to feed on the soft wood beneath the bark. When they do so, they introduce the fungus, which replicates, causing the formation of a canker.
What are the other symptoms of thousand cankers disease?
Once the cankers themselves start showing up, other symptoms are not far behind. The tree will start developing yellowed leaves, often sporadically on its branches at first. Over time, more and more leaves become yellow, with the yellowing often spreading downward from the center of the crown. Branches may begin dying as the cankers girdle them, cutting off the flow of fluid and nutrients.
How do you treat thousand cankers disease?
Sadly, there is really no way to treat the disease. Once the tree develops the condition, it will die. The process may take two to three years, or perhaps a bit longer if the tree is large and hardy.
What you should do if your suspect your tree has thousand cankers disease is call a tree care company that provides tree removal services. They can confirm the diagnosis, and then they will remove the tree. Do not just leave the tree in place until it dies. The longer it's left upright, the greater the chance of thousand canker disease spreading to other nearby walnut trees.
How can you protect your tree from thousand cankers disease?
If this disease is becoming more prevalent in your area, but your walnut trees are safe so far, then there are a few things you can do to protect them. Do not bring firewood onto your property, as it may be laden with beetles. Have your trees trimmed annually so that the wind flows more freely through the branches, keeping them dry and less appealing to bugs.
Thousand cankers disease is a death sentence for your walnut tree, but it does not have to be a death sentence for others if you handle your tree's infection properly.