What's wrong with this leaf/tree?
August 26, 2011 9:01 AM   Subscribe

Posting for a friend: Why is my tree sick? [photo]

The trees at my friend's house recently started getting brown spots all over their leaves. At first, it was just the two trees up in the front yard but it started spreading to the backyard of the house.

My friend doesn't know what kind of tree they are. He lives in central New Jersey, if that helps narrow out the species of trees that it could be.

Here's a link to the leaf in question: http://www.flickr.com/photos/yuri_kim/6083100070/

Anyone have an idea of what's going on?
posted by carpyful to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Looks a lot like blister mites.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:22 AM on August 26, 2011

Has your friend called the local lawn and garden store or brought a leaf and pictures in for a trained opinion. I'm not talking about a home depot lawn and garden department, but an agricultural co-op. I'm sure there's one in new jersey.

That would be my first stop.
posted by TheBones at 10:03 AM on August 26, 2011

It looks like the leaf of a linden tree. It has been very wet over the last month in central NJ (wettest August in history in Philly) so it could be a bit of fungus. This is not an uncommon occurrence in late summer for a number of tree species. Although it is unsightly, I would not be too concerned about it. After the leaves fall, tell your friend to rake them up and dispose of them. Don't let them sit on the ground around the tree all winter and next spring. That could encourage the fungus to return next year. The tree should be fine next spring.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 10:16 AM on August 26, 2011

It looks like a leaf spot disease to me, possibly Elsinoe. There's not much that can be done at this point, but this page has some recommendations for control.

To be more certain, you friend should take several leaves to their local agricultural extension. (Nurseries are second best, because they try very hard to sell you things. I used to work at one.)
If it's only this year, it's not a big deal- no need to get crazy with fungicides or fertilizers, unless it happens year after year. Fertilizers too high in nitrogen can actually encourage pathogens, so restraint is always called for. Good compost in the spring won't hurt, and well pruned-trees will stay healthier.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:03 PM on August 26, 2011

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