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Diseases of the Forest Pansy Tree

By Jay Golberg ; Updated September 21, 2017

The forest pansy tree (Cercis canadensis) is a variety of redbud tree that grows as an understory tree in the moist woodlands of the southern half of the US. It is useful as a landscaping tree if the right conditions are met which is bright shade and rich soil. Occasionally, diseases of the forest pansy tree cause problems that result in the decline of this beautiful small tree.


Canker begins as a sunken black spot somewhere on a limb. It grows under the bark and the bark will fall away exposing the blackened area which eventually girdles the limb. The section of the limb above the girdled area will die. For control, trim back the affected limb all the way to the main branch removing the diseased branch.

Leaf Spots

Leaf spots are caused by different fungal spores that attach themselves to the leaves. They appear after periods of hot weather followed by abundant rain. They seem to affect forest pansy trees that are planted where they receive too much sun. The leaves can eventually turn yellow and fall off the tree. A forest pansy tree needs shade from the hottest afternoon sun. No remedy is available and the tree usually recovers by the next spring when new foliage appears.

Verticillium Wilt

Verticillium Wilt lives in the soil and invades the tree through the root system and sometimes through wounds in the tree. An affected forest pansy tree will show uneven growth, yellowing leaves, or areas of dead or dying foliage and limbs. Occasionally, the forest pansy tree will recover if all diseased limbs are removed and the plant is fertilized and given ample moisture. However, verticillium wilt often leads to decline and death of the tree.


About the Author


Jay Golberg is a certified Texas nursery professional and professional project manager. He has 30 years of business and farming experience and holds bachelor's degrees in English writing from St. Edward's University and finance from Lamar University.