The beautiful reds, yellows and oranges that brightened our trees are now littering our lawns. Leaf clean-up is not a fun chore, but it’s important for many reasons. Not only is leaf clean-up the neighborly thing to do, it may keep your landscape healthy the following year. Tree leaves are carriers for fungi and diseases that may have plagued the landscape all year. Keep in mind, there are some years that are more conducive for disease development. A wet spring is ideal for many fungi and diseases to grow, but symptoms typically don’t appear until later in the year. With many fungi and diseases, if infected leaves are not removed from the landscape the leaves may re-infect trees and shrubs the next year when spring returns. Apple Scab, Anthracnose and Leaf Blister are just a few examples of tree diseases that overwinter in fallen leaves to re-infect the following year. These diseases affect a number of commonly used tree species in Illinois.
Leaf clean-up is an important part of keeping your landscape healthy and happy, but should be done in addition to other good cultural practices. Protective fungicide applications, watering during dry periods and fertilization are all excellent opportunities to protect the landscape from disease outbreaks.
KTS provides treatment options for many of the common diseases that plague Illinois trees and shrubs. Contact the PHC Department for more information or to have a Certified Arborist visit your property and assess the needs of your landscape.