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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - August 21, 2008

From: Sturgeon Bay, WI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Wilting of Mountain Ash in Wisconsin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What type of disease would cause a Mountain Ash to entirely wilt? The bark on bottom of tree is opening up and is spongy feeling. No sign of any disease until last month and it quickly wilted with brown leaves. The tree is in a natural area with no soil contamination or compaction. It received plenty of water.

ANSWER:

We are going to assume that your tree is the Sorbus americana (American mountain ash), native to Wisconsin and a member of the Rosaceae family, and not Fraxinus americana (white ash), also native to Wisconsin and a member of the Oleaceae family. There are a number of diseases said to affect the Mountain Ash, and we are going to find websites that describe them and perhaps give you some information on control. Here is a Wisconsin Botanical Information System website on Sorbus americana.

University of California Integrated Pest Management Fire Blight

Nevada Plant Pathology Canker diseases on ornamental woody plants

Pictures of Bark  Canker

University of Maine Pest Management Lab Crown gall-often a problem on members of the Rosaceae family

Diagnosing and recommending treatment of a plant at a distance is nearly impossible. We suggest that you contact a trained arborist or your University of Wisconsin Extension Door County office.

 

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