Tree Fungus in Louisiana

Overview

A variety of fungus problems pose a significant threat to trees in Louisiana. From cosmetic damage to severe infection, fungi wreak havoc on a wide array of regional tree species. Familiarize yourself with what to look for and how to manage different types of fungus problems that may arise for the continuation of a vigorous home landscape.

Types

One type of fungus of Louisiana trees, also present in other states, is laurel wilt fungus (Raffaelea larelensis). Beetles transport this fungus in an internal pouch located in their mouths until they reach the host tree. Cerotelium fici is the fungal pathogen that causes rust on fig trees in Louisiana, according to the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service. Fusarium wilt is a fungal infection of mimosa trees in Louisiana, caused by the soil-borne fungal pathogen Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. perniciosum, according to the Virginia Cooperative Extension.

Description

For laurel wilt fungus, while beetles carve their way into the wood of trees, the fungus germinates and forms colonies, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension. As infestation and infection occurs, fungus causes the wilt of leaves and newer stem growth. Rust on fig trees affects leaves, first apparent through the display of spots on foliage that grow and increase in number. Fusarium wilt fungus disease on trees begins with a display of yellowed, wilted leaves.

Effects

Laurel wilt on Louisiana trees often results in complete early defoliation, dieback and plant death, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension. When the fungus spreads, water and nutrients are no longer able to move throughout the tree. Less severe damage occurs with fig rust as trees are susceptible to defoliation, but fruit is generally unaffected. Similarly, fusarium wilt causes early defoliation but may also result in rapid death, particularly when left untreated, according to the Virginia Cooperative Extension.

Prevention

Planting resistant trees and avoiding susceptible species increases the likelihood that you will avoid tree fungus in your Louisiana home garden. Avoid planting other known host trees for laurel wilt including avocado trees (P. Americana), camphor trees (Cinnamomum camphora), redbay (P. borbonia) and sassafras (Sassafras albidum), according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension. When choosing fig trees in Louisiana, consider planting Celeste, a fig tree with good resistance to leaf diseases as well as cold injury, which can damage a tree, leaving it vulnerable to fungal problems. Fight fusarium wilt fungus, as well, by planting mimosa cultivars Charlotte or Union.

Solutions

As of 2010, there are no effective chemical control methods for these fungus problems. For laurel wilt fungus of Louisiana trees, do not transport or sell any part of an infected tree as the disease is still under study. For fig fungus problems, provide ideal cultural requirements as well as optimal air circulation to prevent fungal germination. Fusarium wilt is a fatal problem for mimosas; since the pathogen is soil-borne, plant a resistant tree from another species after removing the mimosa. Most species are immune to Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. perniciosum, according to the Virginia Cooperative Extension. For all Louisiana tree fungus problems, sanitize tools that come into contact with trees. Collect and destroy affected plant parts to eliminate the chance of disease spread. Additionally, keep your trees vigorous through proper care for a higher chance of retaliation or resistance.

Keywords: Louisiana tree fungus, Louisiana laurel wilt, Louisiana tree disease

About this Author

Tarah Damask's writing career, beginning in 2003, includes experience as a fashion writer/editor for Neiman Marcus, short fiction publications in "North Texas Review," a self-published novel, band biographies, charter school curriculum, and articles for eHow. She has a love for words and is an avid observer. Damask holds a Master of Arts in English and creative writing from the University of North Texas.