Way to Recognize Disease in Your Plants and Trees

Posted on Apr 27, 2017 6:00:00 AM by Stephanie Morgan

Way to Recognize Disease in Your Plants and Trees | The Experienced GardenerIf you do not know what to look for it can be difficult to recognize disease in your plants and trees. It is important to learn the signs of disease so you can take action as quickly as possible in order to minimize the damage. There are some differences when it comes to identifying disease in plants and trees so it is necessary to address them separately.


When it comes to plants you have to look closely to identify some types of diseases. This is because they can look similar to other problems that occur with plants. Sometimes a plant that is dying back after a growing season will have similar discolorations as some diseased plants. In addition, damage from insects and pests can result in issues that resemble disease. If a vole eats away at the bulb of a plant under the ground it will appear that the plant is dying off for no apparent reason. This could lead you to suspect disease when, in reality, it is a pest problem. The reason it is important to learn the differences between disease and other issues is because the source of the problem will help you determine the most appropriate treatment.  

Common signs of disease in plants include wilting, rotting, moldy coatings, blotches, discoloration of leaves, and spots on leaves. If you notice any of these issues take it as an indication that you need to look more closely at your plants. Could these issues be caused by other factors, like over-watering, under-watering, too much sun, or insect activity? These factors are simple to rule out with a few modifications. Once you have ruled them out you can start to seriously consider the possibility that your plants are diseased.

Some types of plant disease are purely aesthetic and will not kill off your plants. Others can be extremely destructive and spread beyond the plant of concern. If there are any parts of the diseased plant that have died off, remove the debris immediately to prevent it from spreading to the surrounding vegetation. There are fungicides on the market that you can get to address specific types of plant disease. If you cannot find a way to successful eradicate the issue on your own then you can call a lawn care professional for help.


Some types of diseases that affect trees look similar to the ones that affect plants. For example, leaves that are discolored, have spots, are wilting, or drying up can indicate a diseased tree. These signs may be too subtle to notice especially if only a portion of the leaves are impacted. Similar to other types of plants, insect damage to trees can be confused with disease. There are some types of pests that eat away at the leaves and create holes that look similar to the spots caused by disease. You can take a closer look at the leaves to determine if they are infested with pests.   

More apparent signs of disease in trees include unusual growths and localized dead areas on a trunk or branch. If you see either of these issues it could be a sign of a serious problem for your tree. The big difference in a tree that is diseased versus a plant is how you handle it. Diseased trees cannot always be dealt with as easily as diseased plants. Their size and composition make effective treatment much more difficult. If you have a serious concern about a tree on your property, your best option is to hire a professional with relevant knowledge and experience.   

If you keep an eye out for the symptoms discussed here you will be much more likely to identify disease in your plants or trees before it has time to cause major damage. As long as you act quickly and chose an appropriate treatment method, you should be able to keep your plants alive and healthy.

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Topics: Gardens