White spots on Eastern Redbud tree trunks and branches - Knowledgebase Question

Durham, NC
Question by keithakell
May 10, 2006
Our Eastern Redbud trees have had minimal to no blooms this year and are only producing a small amount of leaves. I have noticed white spots on the trunks and branches. Is this a pest or perhaps a water problem from the drought in our area? I do not see a pest, although a few fine spider webs are noticeable on some of the smaller dried up branches. I have begun watering and feeding the trees daily. Should I treat them for pests as well?


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Answer from NGA
May 10, 2006

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Based on your description the trees sound as though they are severely stressed. Drought can certainly cause this type of stress, as can canker -- to which these trees are quite susceptible, and other diseases. The white spots might be lichen which can sometimes appear on ailing trees, but in and of itself does not damage the tree. I would suggest you consult with a professionally trained and certified arborist, or possibly with your local county extension to try to obtain a specific diagnosis of the problem(s) and then based on knowing that, determine how to proceed. If a chemical control is needed, your county extension should have the most up to date information on what and how/when is best to apply it.

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