Northern catalpa trees are known for being easy to grow. They tolerate compacted soils, droughts and shade, making them a popular choice in cities and suburbs. Catalpas can live for 60 years or longer, but like most trees, they are susceptible to a number of diseases that may limit their lifespan. Here's a look at three of those diseases, and how to best prevent and treat them.
Caused by the fungi Verticillium albo-atrum and Verticillium dahliae, this disease causes leaves to fall prematurely. Often a whole branch, or several branches, will lose leaves and die. The leaves that fall are typically yellow and wilted.
Verticillium wilt enters the tree from its roots, and it affects a wide array of tree species, which means it may be spread through the soil from a maple, plum, currant or other tree to your catalpa. The best way to prevent the disease is to fumigate the soil with fungicides before planting new trees. Unfortunately, fungicides will not prevent or treat the condition in established trees. Once a tree is diagnosed with verticillium wilt, it's likely to eventually die from the condition. Providing it with adequate water and fertilizer can prolong its life.
Powdery Mildew Disease
If your catalpa's leaves are covered in a white, powdery substance, powdery mildew disease is likely to blame. Caused by several species of fungi, this disease is not overly serious, although it will make your tree's leaves less attractive. You can prevent it by keeping leaves raked up, since the fungi tend to replicate in fallen leaves. Serious cases can be treated by spraying the tree with fungicides.
Ceratomia Catalpae Infestation
Caterpillars of Ceratomia catalpae, also known as the catalpa sphinx, often take up residence on catalpa trees, leaving holes in their leaves. A mild infestation is not likely to cause substantial damage, but if your tree becomes heavily infected, it may rapidly lose all of its leaves. Trees generally re-foliate on their own, but fighting catalpa sphinx infestations is important if you want your tree to remain green and lush. Having the tree sprayed with insecticides, pruning and destroying heavily infected foliage, and raking leaves promptly as they fall will help rid your tree of these pests.
Catalpa trees generally live for about 60 years, and the oldest catalpa in the world, found in the United Kingdom, is 150 years old. Keep an eye out for signs of disease and treat it early, and your catalpa will be around for decades, too. For more tips, a company like A-1 Expert Tree Service can provide valuable insight into your particular tree's conditions and behavior.Share
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