Fungus growing on leaves contributes to lack of foliage so far this fall

Published: Oct. 26, 2018 at 6:27 PM EDT
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The owner of a local nursery says one of the reasons for the lack of fall color on some trees is a fungus growing on the leaves. While not all trees are affected, the ones that are likely won't change colors.

Mark Viette, part-owner of Andre Viette Farm and Nursery in Fishersville, says the fungus is thanks to all the rain we had leading up to the fall.

The most vulnerable trees are nut trees, oaks and maples. However he says the rain was actually good for some trees like dogwoods, which are brighter than ever because of the wet weather.

He says not all trees are impacted and we will likely still see some beautiful color, and it's worth checking out.

"Try to get our and enjoy the fall color you're talking about," Viette said. "I highly recommend it if it's going to be a good year, take that hike, and look at all what nature has to offer to us."

He says it's normal every fall for not all trees to change color.

"In some years you'll see all the nut trees beautiful yellow, some years you'll see all the maples with that color, some years you'll see all the dogwoods," Viette said. "Rarely do you get it all at once."

While he doesn't recommend sprays to treat the diseased trees, he says there's something you can do to make sure the fungus doesn't come back next year.

He suggest you clear the affected leaves from the ground when they fall. The fungus can last through the winter and spread the disease to the trees next spring.

Viette says you should clear the leaves as soon as possible to prevent them from drying and crumbling in the winter — which makes it nearly impossible to remove all pieces of the leaves. He says to throw the leaves out rather than using them as compost if they are affected.