Black Tar Fungus Affects Trees In The State Of Maine

BANGOR, Maine (WABI) Allison Kanoti, Forest Entomologist said, “The leaves are the energy factories of the trees, so when those energy factors are impacted, it impacts the tree's ability to maintain itself."

In the fall season, most folks are looking at how beautiful the foliage is…but if you ever looked closely at the leaves, some have black blotches.

The culprit? The Black Tar Fungus.

"The black tar is a structure that is created by the fungus. The fungus affects the leaf tissue and then creates the black stoma on the leaf surface. It's part of the fungal body"

The fungus is native to our region…the disease is severe in many places in Maine. We’re told Bangor is worse than most areas.

"Could be something to do with the early spring weather, really cool, wet, may really foster the infection of the leaves as they developed and really by the end of July you're starting to see the leaves brown and curl."

The Norway Maple came from Europe…that's why the tree is most susceptible to the fungus. Some have probably noticed more leaves on the ground.

"When a tree gets in trouble is when it actually refoliates after the late season defoliation because those new leaves use that energy that was destined to be used in the spring."

Experts says if the infection spreads, it is not good for the trees. The black spots are actually a source of next year's infections.

"When you have additional aggravating factors, then you can get limbs that lose branches that would die and trees. You can get tree death."

To prevent re-infection next spring, folks should rake up the infected leaves that have fallen and dispose of them.

Courtney Cortright, WABI TV5 NEWS Bangor.