Mystery Problem at Tree Nursery

Name and Position/Title: 
Patrick O’Malley, Commercial Horticulture Field Specialist

Fiscal Year Submitted: 
2010

POW Title and Number:
130 Horticulture: Commercial and Consumer 

Title:
Mystery Problem at Tree Nursery

Issue: 
A large tree nursery in Eastern Iowa had many trees with blistering bark.  They were worried it was some disease that would spread and make the trees unsalable. 

Response: 
I checked the trees and noticed an unusual pattern of symptoms only on the NW side of the trees.  The affliction was spread across several different types of trees such as elm, ornamental pear, and ash, but not on river birch and burr oak.  I took pictures and forwarded them along with background information on site conditions to several tree professionals.  Most had no idea what was wrong, but two separate people wondered if there could be some involvement with hail.  I checked with the National Weather Service and found that there was a hail event with strong NW winds near 50 mph that coincided with the onset of symptoms.  That particular hail storm was at night.  This nursery field is located at a remote location from the main nursery and they did not have any people there at the time.  Because of the nature of the bark, the blistering was not apparent on the river birch and burr oak.

Results: 
The nursery was relieved it was not a disease problem.  Although the trees will have to be slightly discounted the nursery no longer has a hesitation in selling them.   The nursery, tree professionals, and I are now more aware of detecting hail injury in trees.

2010

130 Horticulture: Commercial and Consumer 

Page last updated: May 5, 2010
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu