June 21, 2008

Fungal Infection Strikes Ohio Trees

White oak and sycamore trees in Columbus, Ohio, are being ravaged by a fungal disease brought on by the wet spring, experts say.

Anthracnose, or premature balding, has left many trees in the Buckeye State bare, The Columbus Dispatch reported Saturday.

Dan Balser, forest health administrator for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Forestry, said about two weeks ago that leaves on many of the trees started turning brown and shedding because of the fungal disease.

Most of the time, a tree can tolerate (the disease) by producing more leaves, but do that too many times and you're going to run out of ways to stay alive, he was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

Columbus city forester Jack Low said the conditions were just right for the trees to be infected.

You have to have the right host, which is the tree. You have to have the right weather, and that's cool and wet, and then there's the disease, he said.