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Mr. Smarty Plants - Tulip tree with white spots on leaves in Mississippi

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Thursday - July 31, 2008

From: Jackson , MI
Region: Southeast
Topic: Pests, Trees
Title: Tulip tree with white spots on leaves in Mississippi
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a tulip tree in my yard that blooms in the spring that is about 10-15 years old. However just this past week or so we have noticed that there is lots of white spots on the leaves and the branches. And many of the leaves are also turned blackish and a sticky syrup is leaking out of them all over our sidewalk. What is happening. This is our tree right in the front of our house that we love, can it be saved?

ANSWER:

Liriodendron tulipifera (tuliptree) is an excellent hardwood tree and native to Mississippi, so it should be able to do well there. Some sources tell us it suffers from no significant pests or diseases, but what do they know? Read this USDA Forest Service website Liriodendron tulipfera which lists some pests and diseases. Aphids, particularly tuliptree aphids, can build up to large numbers, leaving heavy deposits of honeydew on lower leaves, cars and other hard surfaces. A black sooty mold may grow on the honeydew. Although this does little permanent damage to the tree, the honeydew and sooty mold can be annoying. Powdery mildew causes a white coating on the leaves and is not usually harmful. Another possibility for the spots on the leaves is found in this Ohio Floriculture website on mealy bugs.

Some of the problems are more or less seasonal. The bugs and the mildew tend to flourish in hot, humid weather. Poor air circulation around the tree can be a contributing cause to mildew, so you might consider thinning the tree a little bit this winter. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center neither recommends for nor against the use of pesticides, but you might consult with your Mississippi State University extension office for Hinds County. They should know both whether there is an outbreak of problems with the tuliptree and be able to make recommendations for treatment.


Liriodendron tulipifera

Liriodendron tulipifera

Liriodendron tulipifera

Liriodendron tulipifera

 

 


 

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