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  • Writer's pictureBrian Smith

8 Common Tree Diseases in Kansas City: How Our Tree Service Can Help

Trees in a yard are like furniture in a living room. They fill the space and make it inviting. 

For many people, they plant smaller trees in their yard and get the satisfaction of watching them grow and flourish over time. But like humans, sometimes trees get sick and you need the help of a tree service.

Since you can't exactly take your trees into the doctor's office when they start to look sickly, you need a qualified tree service to help you diagnose and get them healthy again. 

Read on to learn about the 8 most common diseases Kansas City trees might face.

1. Anthracnose Disease

Anthracnose is a fungal disease that will attack several common deciduous trees. These trees include:

  • Sycamore

  • Maple

  • Dogwood

  • Ash

  • Oak

  • Walnut

The disease will cause the trees to defoliate and look disfigured. Some symptoms of Anthracnose disease include leaf blotching, twig dieback, twig cankers, and defoliation. This often shows up in the spring on trees.


The good news is that it can be treated. The tree can be treated with a fungicide application that will work best in spring. It will help the tree to follow up with fertilizer once it starts to show signs of recovery. 

To prevent Anthracnose, keep trees properly pruned, and maintain a good watering schedule. You also want to be sure the tree has good drainage. 

2. Dutch Elm Disease

Dutch Elm trees were once very commonly planted in the Kansas City area. They are fast growers, not picky about their soil, and overall a very tolerant tree.


That is, of course, until Dutch Elm disease arrived on US soil from France in the 1930s and spread like wildfire. By 1957, it arrived in Kansas City too.

Symptoms of Dutch Elm disease include discoloration, wilting, and death of leaves. Once a tree becomes infected, it will die from the disease. 

If your tree is showing signs, you want to call in a local tree service to quickly remove it, so the disease doesn't spread further.

3. Emerald Ash Borer

The Emerald Ash Borer is actually more of a bug problem than a disease, technically speaking. It is a tiny beetle that attacks mature Ash trees. The beatles have been quite destructive to the Ash tree population.

The beatles lay their eggs in the crevices of the trees. One they hatch they bore into the bark of the tree. Often, in the months from July to October, the beetles bore into the core of the tree. 

Once there, they eat and create tunnels that disrupt the tree's ability to nourish and get itself water. Adult beetles will eat foliage too. They can be deadly to an Ash tree.


4. Hypoxylon

Hypoxylon is another fungal problem that several different varieties of trees can catch. The fungus creates cankers on the tree trunks and stems. This eventually can cause tree rot. 

The following trees might fall victim to Hypoxylon:

  • Aspen

  • Poplar

  • Alder

  • Oak

  • Maple

  • Birch

  • Willow

  • Apple

  • Hornbeam

Trees can become infected from this disease because of stress to the trees. Construction stress can be particularly harmful. Unfortunately, once the tree is infected, it will eventually be fatal.

You can prolong the tree's life by carefully pruning away the parts of the tree that are infected. This helps to slow down the spread. 

5. Iron Chlorosis

Iron Chlorosis happens when a tree is lacking iron. The result is that the tree leaves start to yellow. You will know it's Iron Chlorosis because while the leaves yellow, the veins in the leaves remain green.


Pin oaks, sweetgums, soft maples, and others can fall victim to Iron Chlorosis. This occurs if the soil the tree is growing in has a ph level that is too high. It makes it difficult for the tree to get iron from the soil.


Overwatering and poor drainage can create this problem for some trees too.

The good news is that this tree problem can be fixed. Make sure the tree is on a watering regimen and is getting the proper drainage. Also, start the tree on a good fertilization program to level out the ph. 

It will take time, but trees can recover from this problem.

6. Spaeropsis Tip Blight 

Spaeropsis Tip Blight is a fungal problem impacting a variety of pine trees. These include: 

  • Austrian

  • Scots

  • Ponderosa

  • Mugo

There are three different varieties of this fungus that will impact both the needles and the cones of the tree. The tree's symptoms will be browning needles, spotted needles, and black spots on needles and cones.

The best time to treat Spaeropsis Tip Blight is in the spring. Several applications of a fungicide will usually get the tree back to healthy again. 

7. Oak Wilt

Oak Wilt is another fungal disease that impacts oak trees specifically. It seems to impact red oaks, pin oaks, and more seldom white oaks.

This is a vascular disease. It starts at the top of the tree and moves downward. The leaves will start to curl and wilt. If you removed the bark, you might see the brown streaks running through the trunk of the tree. 

Sadly, this is a deadly disease for oak trees and they will die surprisingly quickly. If you suspect your oak has Oak Wilt, consult a tree service quickly. It will prevent further spread of the disease to other oak trees in the area.

8. Pine Wilt

Pine Wilt is found on Scots pine, Austrian pine, and sometimes White pine. The trees become infected when the Pine Sawyer beetle gets on the tree and deposits microscopic nematodes.

The nematodes are a microscopic worm that gets under the bark of the tree and disrupts the tree's ability to move water throughout the tree. 

Infected trees will start to turn brown and wilt. You want to act quickly to remove the tree to avoid having the Pine Wilt travel to other trees in the area.

Help for Your Trees From a Kansas City Tree Service

You never want to see a beloved and mature tree in your yard fall victim to disease or pests. If you suspect a problem on one of your trees, you should act quickly. 

Contact a tree service right away to help diagnose the tree. If it's an incurable problem, the faster you remove the tree the better for other trees in your yard. 

If you need an expert to help you with the trees in your yard, contact us. We can help with disease, tree pruning, and tree removal as needed. 

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