Verticillium in a Catalpa

Asked July 22, 2015, 11:19 AM EDT

Several branches on our Northern Catalpa began showing wilted leaves and now the leaves have fallen off. We think it could be V. Wilt and we were going to have the tree removed. But now I'm noticing new leaf growth in almost every bare branch and am wondering whether we should wait and see if it recovers. Is it possible for it to recover? It's only 5 years old and about 20 feet high.

Kane County Illinois

1 Response

Thank you for your question to eXtension.

Before doing anything drastic, be sure you have the problem diagnosed correctly. Here is a link to an excellent publication describing Verticillium Wilt: https://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/BP/BP_6_W.pdf . Catalpa IS on the list of susceptible trees, so it's possible.

However, there could be many more mundane causes for a limb to die back. Many trees will drop leaves during hot, dry weather, as a way to reduce stress on the root system.

The fact that it is re-leafing is good, and indicates to me that the limb probably doesn't have verticillium wilt.

I would certainly recommend that you take a wait-and-see approach. You can always cut it down later. I might also consider finding a local Certified Arborist to examine the tree to determine the cause for the limbs dying, and then make your decision based on his/her information.