A Rotten Trunk

How to Prevent Insect & Disease Problems on Trees

It`s important to get an early start when it comes to dealing with insect and disease issues. It will ensure that you grow a beautiful and healthy landscape all season. It`s always better to focus on prevention rather than dealing with pest infestation and disease when it already happens. Besides being easier, preventing the problem on time will result in saving up the money spent on pesticides. That way you’ll also enjoy a more attractive environment. However, prevention isn`t that easy. It involves a number of steps, like plant care, monitoring, and treatment. We recommend following a protocol called IPM (Integrated Pest Management). This ecological approach will provide effective results with the minimum use of harmful chemicals. To get informed on the most common diseases and how to prevent insect and disease problems on trees, read the following article.

Common Diseases

  • Apple Scab-This leads to crabapple and apple trees shedding their leaves prematurely during late spring and early summer. The best way to recognize apple scabs is the leaves with black and brown spots.
  • Anthracnose-Anthracnose is often misdiagnosed as oak wilt. It causes the leaves to develop brown, dry, and blotchy spots. It usually attacks the trees early in the season.
  • Leaf Spot Disease-Leaf spot disease creates spots on the leaves of trees and can be brown, black, or tan, creating dark spot pigment on the leaves.
  • Cytospora Canker-This disease is widely known for causing discoloration on areas of tree branches and trunks. It`s most common among trees aged 15 or older, turning tree`s needles to brown and killing its lower branches.
  • Black Knot-Black knot creates an olive-green, soft matter near the twigs, eventually changing to hard black knots when the fall arrives. If you leave the black knot untreated, it can kill off the whole tree, making it one of the most dangerous tree diseases.

An Apple Infected With The Apple Scab Disease

IPM-How Does It Work?

Integrated Pest Management consists out of certain methods developed for fighting and preventing insects and disease problems on trees. These methods are consistent in monitoring pests for proper plant care practices, immediate action, correct treatment approaches, and planting pest-resistant plant varieties. The main goal of IPM is to develop long-term early prevention of insects and pests and help you with tree preservation. It works on a logical principle, meaning that eliminating or reducing the pest population at the very beginning will significantly reduce the risk of any damage to the trees.

Although it might sound complicated, IPM is a simple process that helps with tree disease & insect control. It consists of a few essential steps, which we`ll thoroughly explain below.


Regular monitoring means that you need to check your plants on a daily basis which will allow you to detect any early signs of pest infestation while the population is still low and therefore easy to eliminate. At this stage, it`s easy to interrupt their growth while you still have control. For example, the presence of mountain pine beetle is easiest (and advised) to monitor in the winter. How do you know they`re taking shelter? If you notice the pitch tubes, remember to cut off a piece of bark and check if there is discoloration of the area (wood) under the bark (grayish-blue). If there is such discoloration, we highly recommend calling the arborist to take the tree down.

Why is regular monitoring of pine trees important? Well, regular monitoring of these trees in the winter and removing the infected trees will prevent the beetles from infesting the neighboring trees. That`s why we accentuate consisting monitoring and immediate action as it will make a huge difference in terms of keeping your trees healthy.

A Man Inspects A Tree Looking For Signs Of A Disease

Plant Care

Proper plant care practices are another crucial step for stopping the growth of a vast number of pests. It is very simple since it involves maintaining cleanliness and keeping your beds and plants well-tended. We recommend rotating your annual crops to different areas of the garden every year, which will surely minimize any pest problems.

Also, cleaning up old leaf litter on the base of the plants since it is an effective way of eliminating possibly problematic insects. Another way to lower the risk of plant damage is by observing the right time to plant trees. In the warmer months, keep your plants hydrated throughout the whole year, as dehydrated plants are prone to damage. Furthermore, in some cases, it is recommended to change the soil before planting by applying organic matter on a frequent basis. To prevent the growth of weeds and to retain moisture, use a dense layer of organic mulch. When it comes to newly-planted, take extra care.


Planting properly is another crucial factor in preventing insect and disease problems on trees. There are a couple of tips to follow, including:

  • Planting pest-resistant Varieties – If you want to plant some popular plant that is prone to pests, we`re happy to inform you that there is a resistant variety that has been bred for it. Choose varieties that are more vigorous and robust which will greatly influence pest resistance.
  • Plant at the right time and the right place -Every plant has a specific preference when it comes to soil, sunlight, temperature, moisture, sunlight, space, etc. If you plant at the wrong time and wrong place, it will only stress out the plant while allowing numerous pests and insects to dive in.
  • Plant diversity – When some of the aforementioned pests like Mountain Pine Beetle become prevalent, they can kill areas of trees. We recommend planting different kinds of trees, kinds, to ensure that you have some plants left if infestation happens. Besides, diversity is great for improving the overall health and look of your landscape.

Gardeners Are Planting A Tree


Treat the trees only when needed after making sure there are biological controls in place. Garden-friendly insects, such as mantids, ladybugs, parasitic wasps, and lacewings, can eat up a large number of pests. However, if the situation gets out of control, consider calling professionals for help to help you with pesticides.


The final step to prevent disease problems on trees is to have your trees diagnosed by professional local tree services, especially if you have no prior experience on the subject. Hire only a trusted service to help you with tree maintenance & fertilization since not all pest control companies are certified.

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