Staff Profiles
Cypress Canker...Cause for Concern?!?

Dean Meyer

4 of 1 votes

In the past few years whilst working and driving through greater Melbourne, it has become obvious to me that there is a major issue effecting vast stands of Cyprus species throughout Victoria. Avenues and rows of mature cypress species have seemingly succumbed almost overnight to a disease which is wreaking havoc all across the state. Wind breaks and hedge rows have been decimated by this silent killer. So what is causing this devastation and what can we do about it?

Cypress Canker or Seiridium cardinal is a serious fungal disease of certain exotic conifers. It can attack at least 25 known species of the Cuppressacea family and has been identified in Europe, America and obviously Australia.

The fungus is spread by spores that are often carried to new plants by the wind, water splash, animals and even on the feet of birds. The spores enter the tree through natural fissures in the bark or though wounds created by failing limbs, tree pruning, machinery damage, or insect damage. The fungus interferes with the sap flow and causes branches and parts of the trunk to die back. The tree can seemingly start to yellow off overnight and usually starts to die from the top down however dieback can occur sporadically on individual branches throughout the tree. 

Older trees are more susceptible to the fungus however all trees can be effected especially trees that are stressed, due to poor health or challenging environmental conditions.

It is thought that in Victoria long periods of drought and below average rainfall causing trees to become stressed followed by high rainfall and warm humid periods which was favourable to the disease, is a major factor in the rapid onset of this issue in various areas.

What can you do to prevent the disease attacking your healthy trees?

A healthy tree is the best prevention, whatever you can do to promote the health of your trees is the best action to take. Fertilise evenly around the drip line of the tree and spread a nice layer of mulch. You may need to water the trees through periods of drought. Avoid any type of machinery damage, such as vehicle, whipper snipper or even pruning cuts. Fence off trees from livestock to avoid damage. Avoid planting Cypress species that are suscitable to the fungus, and search for alternative tree species that are suitable.

Managing affected trees.

Again the best mangement is to promote the health of the trees, cut any affected branches 10cm below any wounds or cankers or browning foliage. Avoid spreading the branches or affected material to other healthy trees. Applying wound sealant to pruning cuts may assist in reducing the spread and also keep pruning to a minimum. Carry out the pruning in winter or after dry spells.

If you have any concerns about your trees, becoming effected or managing the trees that are do not hesitate to contact us to arrange a consultation so we can design a tree mangement plan to help assist you.





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