How to Assist a Trees in Fighting Summer Issues

Summer presents numerous challenges to trees, ranging from extreme heat and drought to attack by other living things. Many things are beyond our control, but we can do a lot to help our trees. Watering and providing good soil for a tree to grow in can help strengthen its natural defenses. However, some issues, particularly non-native invasive insects and diseases, indicate that trees will require more active intervention from us.

Trees, like all living things, are susceptible to disease. Rain and wind can spread bacteria and fungi from one surface to another during many springs and summers. This includes the leaves from your yard’s trees. Bacteria and fungi can also live in soil and attack roots. Whatever the cause, it’s critical to understand how to identify a disease, prevent it, and treat it in order to save your tree and prevent it from spreading.

There are some things you can do throughout the summer to ensure that each of your trees is healthy and ready for the season. Here are some tips for preparing a tree for summer so that it not only thrives this summer, but for many more to come.

To better understand how to spot and prevent tree problems, consider the diseases and insects that are most likely to affect your landscape.

Common Tree Diseases in the Summer

Here are three common tree diseases that appear in the early summer. Each has its own set of causes and symptoms, but the leaves are usually the first to show signs of common spring tree diseases.

Scab on an apple

Apple scab, perhaps best known as a disease that affects crab apple, apple, pear, and serviceberry trees, is a fungal disease that can spread to the leaves as well as the fruit. An apple scab infection is more likely to develop when a tree is exposed to cool, damp weather and cloudy conditions in the spring, just as the leaves begin to bloom.

In early summer, apple scab appears as a dark splotch that resembles watercolor paint spreading on paper. The lesions spread throughout the summer and can eventually kill the leaves. Some leaves will turn yellow as a result of the process, but not all.


Insects can also transmit disease. Fireblight occurs when insects are drawn to ooze from infected trees and then spread the infection to other trees. The infection can also be spread by wind. It is critical to detect a fire blight infection before it spreads to the tree’s trunk.

Keep an eye out for fire blight in the leaves of trees. Infected trees’ leaves will droop as if weighted down after a heavy rainstorm and will even begin to shrivel. They will turn brown and crispy as the disease progresses, and the bark will appear cracked and burnt.

Wilt of Oak

The fungal disease oak wilt affects the water-conducting vessels of oak trees. The disease can spread from one tree to another via grafts, which are connections between tree roots. It is also spread by small beetles, which feed on the sap that comes out of fresh wounds and pick up spores from infected trees. They then deposit spores on uninfected tree wounds. This is why we don’t prune oaks in the spring and summer: fewer wounds equals a lower risk of oak wilt transmission.

Although oak wilt affects all native oaks, symptoms vary. The infection spreads quickly in red and pin oaks and is generally incurable. The leaves of bur and white oaks will take on an autumn appearance, with some scattered discoloration and wilting. If we suspect oak wilt in a white or bur oak, we can collect a sample and send it to a lab for analysis before making a treatment decision.

Insect Pests of Summer Trees

When deciding how to prepare a tree for spring, it is critical to first determine whether or not insects have made a tree their home. Here are three types of tree insects that are commonly found in the spring.

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)

The emerald ash borer, scientifically known as Agrilus planipennis, attacks and can kill all of our native ash trees. With over a billion ash trees in Minnesota alone, this insect has already caused significant damage to our tree population. The ash tree’s condition deteriorates as the infestation progresses, and branches begin to break. When the situation becomes critical, trees must be removed to prevent them from failing and causing harm to people or property.

Emerald ash borers leave holes as they exit the tree; small D-shaped holes may be visible if you look closely. The bark over the larval galleries dies and occasionally splits open, revealing S-shaped tunnels beneath the bark.

Mites from spiders

Check for spider mites, which feed on the fluid inside the needles, if you have conifers. Each year, multiple generations of spider mites emerge, each lasting 15 to 20 days.

Because spider mites feed on the oldest needles first, inspect the most mature needles for speckling or flecking. As the feeding progresses, the needles will turn brown and fall from the tree.

Scale of Pine Needles

Pine needle scale, which can be found on pines, Douglas Fir, Spruce, and Juniper trees, is a pest. Scales remove the sap from pine needles, causing cell damage.

When determining how to tell if your tree is infected, look for white scabs on the needles and the plant’s stem.

Make your soil ready.

Tree fertilization is also an important consideration, and it begins with your soil. Many homeowners choose to aerate their lawns each year to keep turf roots healthy; trees, on the other hand, can benefit from a similar but more extensive process that uses compressed air. We can add an organic, slow-release fertilizer while we’re breaking up the compacted soil.

Fertilization occurs naturally in forests as fallen leaves and other tree debris decompose and decay. This process occurs much less frequently in landscaped areas, so your trees miss out on some of the natural fertilization cycle. Adding nutrients and organic matter to the soil can help your trees grow in the best soil possible, keeping your trees looking and growing great.

Vineland Tree Care is a well-known tree service in the Twin Cities metro area. If you’re wondering how to prepare your tree for fall, give us a call and one of our certified arborists will talk with you about your specific needs as well as the needs of your tree. Request an estimate for tree fertilization or other services you require. We can’t wait to get your tree ready for fall!

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