Owning Bigtooth Aspens: Diseases, Insects, And How A Tree Service Can Help

Posted on: 4 January 2016

If your yard has difficult soil that is rich in sand or clay, you might have problems finding trees that can add greenery and shade and thrive in such growing conditions. One possible contender for your yard is the bigtooth aspen, which is a smaller, more yellow-toned tree than more commonly known aspen varieties. The bigtooth's real showstopper is its namesake: glossy green leaves with jagged edges that resemble teeth.

Considering adding a bigtooth aspen to your yard? While the tree is durable in poor soil, the bigtooth can suffer from some health threats you should know about ahead of time to watch for signs of damage. There are a few diseases and insects that can take a toll on the bigtooth aspen but the assistance of a tree services company should hep you keep the damage to a minimum.

Shepard's Crook

Shepard's crook is a fungus-borne disease that is also called aspen blight. The blight affects the bigtooth's distinctive leaves and first appears as brown spots on new leaves growing in the spring. Affected leaves will continue to wither until the smaller than normal leaves will drop off the tree. The disease can continue to progress until even the new twigs start to wither and drop. 

The good news is that shepard's crook is largely a cosmetic issue and that the infection will simply sort itself out between growing seasons. If you want to eliminate the eyesore in the meantime, ask your tree services company to trim away any affected leaves and twigs.

Large Aspen Tortrix

The large aspen tortrix is a type of moth that can feast on bigtooth aspen trees. The moths are small with multi-tonal brown bodies and small green eggs that are laid out in a scale-like pattern. Larvae will eat the green tissue of the leaves but leave behind the veins. Growing leaves can thus end up looking like skeletons and drop off the tree prematurely.

Infestations of these moths are only a huge threat if there are a glut of aspen trees in your area that can cause a large aspen tortrix population boom. If yours is the only aspen around, the problem will be mostly cosmetic and short-term since aspens grow a second batch of leaves mid-summer, which is off the moth life cycle, and thus will be mostly safe from larvae damage.

You can ask your tree service to help clear away any visible damage as the leaves become stripped by the moth larvae. Pruning will keep your tree looking healthy until the new leaves can arrive. 

Poplar Borer

Poplar borers are a type of small beetle with a gray body with orange spots. The borer, as the name suggests, will bore through the flesh of the tree while eating. The damage can weaken the otherwise sturdy branches and twigs of the bigtooth aspen and leave the tree more susceptible to fungal-borne diseases including canker and heart rot.

Insecticide can help treat young borer infections. Call in a tree services company like Yarnell Tree Co Inc as soon as you suspect a problem so that insecticide can be applied and damaged areas trimmed away to prevent fungal diseases from also developing.


Keeping Your Trees Healthy

About a year ago, I realized that our front trees were starting to look a little funny. Some of the leaves were wilted, but we weren't anywhere near autumn. The bark on the trunk also seemed to be rotting away, which was frustrating and disappointing. Fortunately, a friend of mine told me to call a professional arborist for help. He came out, inspected the trees, and injected some special pesticides into the trunk. Within a few months, they started to look a lot better. Our arborist also trimmed our trees to reduce the weight load on the branches and to improve their shape. Check out this blog for information about tree trimming.