The Q&A Archives: sweetgum disease?

Question: The bark of my sweetgum tree turned black 2 years ago. It is still leafing out but the color of the leaves is not as dark a green. What 's wrong with my tree and what should I do about it?

Answer: Without having an opportunity to inspect the tree for signs of insects or diseases I can only offer an educated guess. Liquidambar trees can develop a fungal infection after an injury to the bark. What you describe sounds like bleeding necrosis, caused by Botrysphaeria berengeriana (Dothiorella). The infected areas will appear shiny or oily. The exudate comes from the inner bark, which can turn brown if infected. The injuries can be caused by humans (weed whackers, etc.) or by boring insects. You may want to contact your local cooperative extension or Master Gardener clinic for recommended treatments in your area. Good luck with your trees!

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