Tar spots are one of the most common fungal infections of maple trees in our area. Like most leaf affecting fungus, it all starts in the spring when spores released from the infection on last years leaves are released just as the new foliage from this year is developing. Any time a spore manages to find its way to the soft delicate tissue of a brand new leaf it can germinate and a new spot is born.
They first appear as a slightly faded yellow mark but will soon become a raised black blotch by July, and remain an eyesore for the rest of the year. Fortunately, for your tree that’s all it is, an eyesore. Tar spot causes nothing more then cosmetic damage to the leaves of your tree. Although absolutely terrifying in appearance to the concerned tree lover, this fungus is merely using the leaves as a vehicle for reproduction. If you don’t mind the sight of it then there is no control necessary. If the thought of your prize maple tree covered in reproducing microscopic fungi sickens you to your core, a descant amount of control can be obtained by raking up and disposing of infected leaves in the fall. Timely applications of the proper fungicide can be made in cases where disposal of infected leaves is not possible.
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