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Tree Cankers Description:

Cankers are caused by various species of fungi that infect wounded or stressed trees. The canker itself is the dead area on the bark that can be found on the trunk or branches. There are multiple types of canker disease, but common species of the disease include:

  • Cytospora Canker of Spruce
  • Pitch Canker of Pine
  • Seiridium Canker
  • Hypoxylon Canker of Oak
  • Botryosphaeria Canker
  • Phytophthora Bleeding Canker


Trees of various species, such as oaks, pines, firs, willows and many more, are at risk for cankers. Any trees suffering from drought, injury, and other stressors are more susceptible to fungal diseases.

Tree Canker Symptoms:

Symptoms vary depending on the type of pathogen and plant infected. The most obvious symptom of any tree is the appearance of lesions on the bark and dead leaf buds. These lesions sink into the bark, creating the cankers and eventually causing dieback. Trees can lose branches, sections of the crown or the entire tree could even be lost.

How to Manage Cankers on Trees:

Once cankers appear, it is difficult to manage them. The best management practice is prevention. By keeping your trees stress-free and minimizing wounds to the trunk, you can help keep them free of fungal diseases. Some tips to keeping your trees stress free include:

  • Properly mulching
  • Watering regularly, especially during drought periods
  • Fertilizing regularly with a slow-release fertilizer
  • Pruning dead or dying branches
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