Sick Trees?

Maintaining healthy trees to avoid disease!

We have a passion for maintaining trees to avoid disease. A lot of our customers remain in the City of Sarasota as well as have old trees which need more treatment. When we arrive to check out your trees, we’ll treat them as if we rely on them for color as well as serenity at our own house. In fact, almost all of our Arborists have old and lovely trees themselves, and so they will recognize simply exactly how you feel regarding your trees from the get go.

For nearly all of the list below diseases it’s feasible to prevent condition via persistent treatment of your trees. Bear in mind that trees evolved for millions of years in woodland problems. Your lawn possibly does not have the deep mulch, established dirts, as well as unaltered drain that a lot of trees require for optimal health. We can assist maintain your trees healthy and balanced as well as prevent the unfortunate as well as expensive possibility of tree elimination!

Below are simply a few of the illness that attack trees here in Atlanta. Call us right now if you think that your tree is worried, ill or dying. Search for the warning signs: Loss or discoloration of vegetation, crown dieback, mushrooms growing from base, trickling from the fallen leaves, or anything else uncommon.

Common Sickness

Pine Beetles

Prevention: Yes 
Cure: No
Symptom: My tree has browning needles or yellow puffs in bark.

Like many boring insects, Pine Beetles can kill a tree very quickly. These tiny beetles enter the tree unseen and begin boring galleys under the bark, where they lay their eggs. They can kill a tree by girdling it under the bark. Part of the reason they are so lethal is that they carry a blue-stain fungus with them which also weakens the tree.

A healthy Pine may be able to repel the attack, while a sick or stressed tree is more likely to succumb quickly. In addition, the beetles tend to be more lethal in some years than others. Read the Boutte Tree Fact Sheet on Pine Beetles to learn more or contact Boutte Tree and schedule an appointment with an Arborist to talk more about preventative treatments.

Oak Problems

Prevention: Yes 
Cure: Variable
Symptom: My tree has thinning foliage, black oozing from bark, trails of very fine sawdust near base, bad odor near tree.

There are a variety of pests and diseases that attack Oaks. When you notice that your Oak tree has a problem, such as wilting or sparse foliage or many dead limbs, remember that the cause is seldom a single specific pathogen or pest. Trees have defenses against these and generally only succumb to them when they are already stressed by other factors such as low rain, soil compaction, root disruption, poor soil, lightning damage, competition with vines or ivy, etc.

A skilled Arborist can evaluate your “stressed” tree and determine the likely causes of stress and the possible secondary factors that could kill the tree. Then, he/she can develop a strategy for helping the tree.

As an example, suppose that your Oak tree appears to less foliage and has several dead limbs. You wonder if the drought is causing the problem, or if it was the new driveway you put in only 10′ away from the tree. You call Boutte Tree Inc and one of the friendly Arborists comes out and looks around. He/she confirms that the drought has been bad, and that the driveway replacement may have been detrimental. He/she notes that the grass is growing up to the very base of the tree and the grass is being heavily fertilized and irrigated. He/she explains how the cultural environment is not ideally suited to the tree’s health and recommends changes. Then, he/she explains the organic fertilizers offered by Boutte Tree Inc and some disease prevention measures to keep the tree safe until its health recovers. This is a typical tree situation that we deal with everyday at Boutte Tree Inc. Also see our Fact Sheet on Fertilizers.

Aphids and Scale Insects

Prevention: Yes 
Cure: Yes 
Symptom: My tree constantly drips or ‘bleeds’ sap on the ground, or has unhealthy foliage.

Aphids are tiny insects that have piercing mouth parts that they use to draw sap from the tree. There are thousands of varieties and they can attack many different kinds of trees in Atlanta, including some evergreen trees. They are greedy and take a large amount of the trees sap and simply excrete it. This can “rain down” from the tree if it is badly infected and stain cars, blacken driveways, and otherwise make everything a sticky mess underneath the tree. Luckily, there are several effective methods available for controlling aphids, so take a look at our Fact Sheet on Aphids or Scale Insects!

Ambrosia Beetles

Prevention: Yes 
Cure: No 
Symptom: Rapid dieback of canopy or trails of fine sawdust near the base of my tree.

You may have lost a tree to Ambrosia Beetles – you will have noticed little rivulets of extremely fine sawdust poring from various discrete points on the bark around the tree. Once these are spotted it’s almost always too late to do anything about Ambrosia Beetles.

Ambrosia Beetles are a class of boring beetles that employ a unique strategy for survival. They attack trees by boring into them then raise fungal colonies on the tree’s xylem tissue. They feed off the fungi, which in turn is feeding off the wood of the tree. In the case of Ambrosial attack of a living tree the combined effect of the beetles’ boring and the fungal attack can kill a tree very quickly. Older trees are more susceptible than young trees.

There are many different species and the severity of the Ambrosia Beetles can vary widely from year to year. It also is true that in some years certain species of tree will be more susceptible to the Beetles than in other years. The best thing to do is call your friendly Arborist at Boutte Tree Inc to discuss your concern about Ambrosia Beetles. Your arborist will be able to tailor a preventative plan that controls the Beetles and meets your budget. For more information, see out Fact Sheet on Ambrosia Beetles.


Prevention: Difficult 
Cure: Yes 
Symptom: Clumps of dark green in the canopy of hardwoods in wintertime.

Though of utility for the romantically unattached during the Christmas Season, Mistletoe is a parasite for trees! You’ll be able to easily spot mistletoe in the winter when the leaves fall off for it is evergreen. It forms little round clumps of green on the otherwise naked branches. Though a few small plants won’t dramatically harm a tree, the mistletoe can spread throughout the canopy of a tree and begin weakening the tree by robbing it of water and nutrients. Mature trees are especially vulnerable because they may not be able to quickly outgrow the mistletoe. Once heavily established, the mistletoe will attract birds which will in turn hasten the spread of the mistletoe within the canopy of the tree and to nearby trees.

It’s hard to prevent Mistletoe from entering your tree, but once present we can usually control it. Read our Fact Sheet on Mistletoe or call our arborists out to address this concern and any others you may have about your trees’ health.

Wood Decaying Fungus

Prevention: Variable 
Cure: No
Symptom: Mushrooms sprouting near base of my tree.

If you see mushrooms near the base of your tree than you may have a wood decaying fungus. Some fungi attack the living portions of the tree while others will merely rot the wood. What the fungus does is extend a network of tiny filaments slowly into the wood which consume the sugar that the tree stored as cellulose. The fungus occasionally will produce a fruiting body, or mushroom, which sends millions of tiny spores into the air to find new hosts.

The danger with wood-decaying fungus is that even if the fungus does not aggressively attack the living portions of the tree, it will gradually weaken the tree by decaying the supports structure, i.e., the trunk wood and supporting roots. You may view our Fact Sheet on Armillaria Fungus but really it’s best to contact an arborist who will have more experience with the different local fungi and their respective characteristics.

Bacterial Wetwood

Prevention: Yes 
Cure: Difficult 
Symptom: Black oozing from my tree and my tree smells like it’s fermenting.

If your tree is oozing from a blackened area on the trunk, and has a foul smell of fermented sugar, then your tree most likely has a bacterial infection of the xylem tissue. This is known as slime flux, bacterial wetwood, or simply wetwood. Similar to the flu in humans, this sickness drains the tree of energy but does not directly kill trees. It does, however, open the door for other pathogens to enter the tree and possibly do further damage.

To read more about this noxious little tree problem, read our Fact Sheet on Bacterial Wetwood. You can call us to discuss the best way to control this problem and return your tree to good health.

Lethal Bronzing

Prevention: Yes 
Cure: Difficult 
Symptom: Browning leaves.

Lethal Bronzing (also known as Texas Phoenix Palm Decline) is caused by Phytoplasma palmae (a mollicute similar to bacteria, but lacking a cell wall) that is closely related to Palm Lethal Yellowing . Lethal Bronzing was first described in 1980 in Texas, and first reported in Hillsborough County, FL in 2006. Since 2006, it has spread throughout Florida, mostly around the central part of the state. The specific vector of Lethal Bronzing is unknown. Lethal Bronzing is most likely vectored by piercing-sucking insects that are known to spread phytoplasmas to plants. Phytoplasmas infect the phloem, the vascular tissue that moves carbohydrates from leaves to the roots.

Palm Diseases

Prevention: Yes 
Cure: Difficult 
Symptom: Palms are commonly affected by many leaf-spotting fungi. Leaf spots can be circular to elongated, brown and possibly oily in appearance. It is difficult to differentiate among the leaf-spotting fungi by visual symptoms alone..

This fungus survives on plant tissue, so remove and destroy any root systems, stumps and trunks of dead palms in the landscape. Avoid any injury to the tree, especially during planting, staking and regular maintenance activities by string trimmers and lawn mowers. Ganoderma survives in the soil, so it is not recommended that another palm be planted in the same location. There is no chemical control for this disease.


Prevention: Yes 
Cure: Difficult 
Symptom: Spanish and Ball Moss, actually types of bromeliads, don’t do any harm to healthy trees but on occasion need to be removed or thinned if there is a large amount. When providing demossing service, Manatee Tree Service hand picks the moss to limit the risk and damage to the tree. Just a portion of moss is removed, rather than picking all of it, for the overall health of the tree. Attempting to completely remove the moss is too likely to harm the tree. Picking by hand provides immediate results! Spraying takes time! First, you have to wait for the moss to die, then to eventually fall out, leaving a mess all over your lawn.