Why do the sycamore trees look like they are dying this year?

June 6, 2023

Have you noticed a lot of sycamore trees look like they are struggling this year? Although there are exceptions, the most common cause of this is a disease called Anthracnose. Anthracnose is a very common disease throughout Connecticut, especially during cool, wet springs; much like we’ve had this year. Symptoms of anthracnose usually consist of distorted looking leaves and, for leaves that are severely infected, premature leaf drop. Anthracnose can also cause a blighting and dieback of tender shoots which can result in deformity in the canopy. Although it looks bad, near to complete refoliation usually occurs and trees seem to survive these yearly infections.

Fertilize trees in the spring, and water during drought to reduce stress. Rake and dispose of fallen leaves to reduce the chance of infection in the following season. Since this disease is usually not a serious problem for the health of the trees, chemical controls are usually not necessary.

When conditions are not favorable, such as last season’s drought, trees are under more stress making them more susceptible to diseases. This is another reason why sycamores and other tree species could be having a tough time this season, aside from natural occurrences like tree death due to old age.

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