Root rot in a weeping willow can take on various forms depending on the pathogen infecting the tree. Because of this there are different types of fungicide that treat different pathogens. Common natural treatments are also available to treat root rot in a weeping willow. Management of root rot is an ongoing process once the disease is identified.
One of the symptoms of root rot in a weeping willow is yellowing of the leaves and defoliation at the crown of the tree. Wilting and dying branches are another sign possible root rot. The entire weeping willow can turn a bronze color. The problem with identifying root rot is that the symptoms can mimic other diseases found on weeping willow trees. Lab tests should be taken to positively identify if the problem is root rot as well as the variation and cause. Early identification is essential to effective treatment for this disease.
Once the signs are identified, the proper treatment can be selected. Phytophthora root rot is treated with phosphonate fungicides. Cytospora canker is treated with a fixed copper fungicide. Other variants of root rot, such as Crown gall, cannot be treated using fungicides.
Applications of mulch around weeping willow trees keep the soil cool in the summer; cotton root rot needs temperatures of 85 degrees or greater in soil to thrive. Several varieties of mulch can be used including peat moss, bark chips, leaf debris or pine needles. Add organic matter to clay soil around a weeping willow tree; this helps reduce the amount of fungus spores in the soil surrounding the roots.
Fungicides are applied using sprays or by drenching. Safety equipment such as gloves and goggles are recommended by many of the fungicide labels. Sanitation is essential for affected weeping willow trees. Use mulch in a 50/50 ratio with the soil.
Monthly maintenance and monitoring are the best treatments for root rot in a weeping willow tree. Keep records of treatments, locations of outbreaks, and a history of issues related to root rot for the area. Pathogens can remain dormant in the soil many years even if infected trees have been removed. Creating a monthly maintenance schedule, combined with low dose fungicide applications, creates a cost-effective prevention.