Saturday, October 12, 2013

What are the black spots on Maple leaves? Tar Spot -- Worry not!

Why are the leaves turning black? Charred foliage is not part of the usual vibrant fall palette. Tar spot is the newest fungus infecting the leaves of Red Maple trees. Happily it's only a rash, although it would appear to be far more dramatic. Careful clean-up may eradicate the unattractive yet harmless blemishes.

Japanese Red Maples are unique, adding deep burgundy contrast to the greens and blues of their brethren.  Their lacy leaves and graceful limbs add texture and structure to the landscape. 

Typically demure, in late autumn these girls stand out. The show of bright red leaves is spectacular, floating downward just as snowflakes threaten to swirl.

Well, perhaps bright red with dark spotty accents.  Tar spot has hit this year, perhaps due to the abundance of rain and cooler temps. 

Whatever the cause, tar spot is harmless with no permanent effect on the tree but the fungus may overwinter in the fallen leaves.   
No sprays nor pruning needed.  With any luck, careful raking and removal will prevent a reoccurrence. 

Some of the leaves appear lace-like.  Viewing these specimens from below, the spider web
effect is lovely.

Even fungus can be striking in the right light. 

Happy raking!


Why do the Red Maple Leaves Look Brown? Spring Frost Damage to Ornamental Trees

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