Bigtooth aspen trees are mid-sized with furrowed, yellow-brown bark; stout rounded twigs with a downy texture; and distinctive alternating leaves that have a toothed or grooved edge. The bigtooth aspen grows in difficult soils such as clay or rock and thus can be a welcome addition to a yard – or section of yard – where you would have trouble growing another tree for a bit of greenery.
If you do opt to plant a bigtooth aspen, know that you will need to conduct some maintenance – or hire a tree services company to conduct the maintenance for you. There are a couple of tree diseases that can strike the bigtooth aspen and knowing what to look for can help you prevent further damage once the infection has set in.
Hypoxylon Canker Disease
Hypoxylon canker disease happens when a fungus penetrates the tree through damaged bark. Initial symptoms will look like the tree is simply sickly with leaves withering and bark beginning to slough off in places. The sloughed bark will leave behind rounded sores that resemble a canker. These sores can be reddish or dark black with the potential for an off or pungent smell coming from the center.
Canker disease will only strike areas of the tree that have already suffered damage due to wind, improper pruning, or some other environmental factor. Bigtooth aspens are more resistant than other aspens to hypoxylon canker due to the bigtooth's stout branches, but resistance does not equal immune so you still need to keep an eye out for symptoms.
A tree services company can carefully prune away any infected branches and remove the canker from your tree. No further treatment will be necessary as long as you prevent further damage to the tree's bark as much as possible and call in a tree service as soon as damage occur if it does happen.
Heart rot is another fungus-born tree disease that bigtooths are less susceptible to than some other types of aspens. Here the lowered susceptibility is due to the fact that bigtooths tend to naturally have shorter lifespans than some other aspens like the quaking aspen. And heart rot tends to strike and cause more damage to older trees rather than young trees. Again, a lowered susceptibility doesn't mean you can disregard the risk.
Heart rot strikes the central heartwood of a tree, which are the non-growing portions that are often lighter in color. The first sign of heart rot is that the heartwood will start to become notably discolored and then, as the disease progresses, start to soften to the touch and weaken the structure in the area.
The heart rot fungus only infects areas of the tree that were already damaged so pruning can often take away all of the heart rot and protect your bigtooth aspen from further rot. But if the heart rot has already taken hold in the trunk, you will need to ask your tree services company to fully remove the tree. Contact a tree company, such as Troyer Tree Service Inc, for more information.