Month: March 2018

Diseases Found in Trees and Plants

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Like animals, plants have different types of diseases as well. These diseases are seldom seen by humans because the disease causing organisms are microscopic. Plant diseases can affect any part of a tree or the whole tree, and become apparent on the tree once the disease takes hold of its host. Trees diseases are often named after the damage that they produce. Manifestation of certain disease may appear as: leaf rust, fire blight, and powdery mildew.

A common plant disease that most of us have seen is leaf rust. Leaf rust is brown with yellow splotches on leaves. Even if this disease rarely kills plants, it turns them unsightly and cripples the by plant by interfering with photosynthesis. The solution for the tree to fix the problem is to shed its leaves in autumn.

Fire blight changes the appearance of trees to seem as if they were scorched by fire. Leaves of some twigs wither and turn black or brown. The bacteria causing fire blight is particularly active in warm, moist weather. Elements such as rain and infected pruning tools provide transportation for the disease to move. The best way you can treat trees from fire blight is to disinfect pruning tools, then prune said spots on the trees.

A white coating that forms on leaf surfaces during dry, cloudy weather with high humidity is called powdery mildew. Several fungi can cause this disease, with plants that grow in shaded areas being most affected. Leaves are covered with a thin layer or irregular patches with a powdery, grayish-white material. Leaves may become distorted. Infected leaves may turn yellow or red and drop. In late fall tiny black dots are scattered over the white patches like grains of pepper.

Not all diseases will kill plants and trees. However, it may hinder the growth and affect the look of the trees. If there is a concern relating tree diseases, and especially trees affected by diseases that may inflict property damage, call Miller’s Tree Service for a free consultation with one of our certified arborists.

All About Pollen

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Many of us start sneezing and getting watery-eyed when it comes to spring. We all know the cause of these symptoms, and it is pollen. In spring, male trees have to pollinate the female trees, which is their form of reproduction. So while this may be a nuisance for us, we can see why this is important to have so life keeps going.

Around 375 million years ago, plants evolved to produce pollen to help spread their seed and population across landmass. This process helped plants and animals get to where they are today. Without an abundant amount of trees, we would have a less diverse and robust ecosystem of plants and animals. We should also keep in mind that these plants provide us with a much needed supply of oxygen.

Plants evolved to pollinate so they can disperse their seed through the air. Initially, plants would rely on flowing bodies of water and animals to move the male seed to the female. Depending on water supply and animal population in an ecosystem, oftentimes plants would remain in a small area because there would be nothing to take them any further. However, with pollen, plants gained a chance to disperse on a greater scale.

Plants began to take advantage and use winds to increase the travel distance of their seeds. If we look around our forests today, we can see how effective this evolutionary trait is. Plants produce a lot of pollen because it is usually hit or miss, so with more pollen comes a greater chance to successfully fertilize.

Coniferous plants, which include pines, cedars, and redwoods are the most wide spread pollen producers, which rely on winds to do most of the job for them. Deciduous plants, like birch, oak, and maple trees use animals to help pollinate their seed. These different trees contain different proteins in their pollen. These pollen proteins when exposed to us can trigger our immune systems to go into overdrive mode. Everyone has an individual sensitivity to pollen, so depending where you are, you may be more or less affected by this allergy.