Wetwood or slime flux is a bacterial infection that affects shade and forest trees. Though it is not a very devastating type of disease, it can have adverse effects upon the tree's growth and overall health. The manifestation of Wetwood is most commonly triggered by drought, heat and other stressful situations. Wetwood can be managed if discovered so it’s important to know the symptoms of this bacterial infection. In this article we will supply this symptoms and additionally some advice on how to manage Wetwood.
To discern whether a tree has Wetwood the easiest thing to do is to look at the outside of the tree, on the trunk, branches and roots. Infected trees have a characteristic watery discharge coming out of any cracks of the trees bark. When the discharge is still wet it will have a palpable frothy appearance, but when it dries out the only remnants of this Wetwood will be a grayish area on the tree.
Smell can also be a means of attributing Wetwood to your tree. The frothy discharge will be fermenting, which can cause a noticeable sour smell to develop from the tree.
Another way to determine if a tree has Wetwood is to look around its base. If the grass, plants and other foliage situated around the tree has died, or become sickly looking, it properly means your tree has contracted Wetwood.
Now that we have discussed ways to discover the presence of Wetwood in your shade trees, the next step is to take steps that will effectively manage your Wetwood situation. Pruning and wound prevention are two proactive methods in preventing the manifestation of Wetwood. With pruning make sure you only take away the affected tree limbs, and do not remove too much of the infected tree. A good fertilization (a nitrogen based product is properly best) and irrigation regiment will also be a good process to initiate in your garden.
This is due to the fact that the greater supply of water and nutrients to the tree will increase its vigour and growth will increase the likelihood that it be able to cope with the bacterial infection. Another way in which you can alleviate the severity of Wetwood is by installing plastic or iron drainage. Adequate drainage will insure that the gaseous pressure (caused by the fermenting effuse) in the tree is relived, it will also prevent the liquid seeping down the tree trunk which causes damage to the tree.
If your tree has already contracted the disease, then you could carefully remove the loose, dead bark from the sites that are leaking fluid. This can promote the area to dry out.
It is not recommended that you apply pruning paint to the affected area as this can heighten the bacterial problem. With the bacterial disease of Wetwood early detection is vital to the trees future potential. To ascertain scientifically that your tree is infected with Wetwood take a soil sample and send to away to a local Plant Health clinic.
The types of trees Wetwood usually affects are apple, birch, elm, hemlock, maple, mulberry, oak, and poplar and willow trees. If your tree manifests this water soaked condition it doesn't mean that it is destined to die.
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