Tar spot disease could affect fall foliage

Affected leaves often drop prematurely, resulting in more foliage to clean up

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – A disease affecting leaves in New England could impact future fall foliage. And you can blame it on all the rain we’ve been having.

The disease is called tar spot and it’s leaving dark, rounded spots on leaves. After coming out of drought conditions last year, the excess rain this year has been mostly good for the plants.

But too much of anything is never good.

Now, some maple trees are infected with a topical disease which leaves a brown, rounded spot on leaves, making them look, unattractive.

“There are spores and pathogens all around us in the environment,” Urban Forestry Professor Richard Harper explained. “And they are waiting for the right condition to appear. So, because we had a moist start to the growing season in May and June, those conditions were favorable to this pathogen right now.”

According to Professor Harper, tar spot infection doesn’t threaten the health of vigorous trees. Heavily affected leaves often drop prematurely, resulting in you cleaning more leaves up.

You should simply rake them up and dispose them, to reduce the potential for infection next year.