Can someone please tell me what might be wrong with my 12 month old buckeye...

Asked September 16, 2016, 4:43 PM EDT

Can someone please tell me what might be wrong with my 12 month old buckeye tree? It gets watered every other day through my irrigation system. I noticed these brown spots on the leaves a few weeks ago. I planted it when my niece was born so I would really like to save it. Thank you

Franklin County Ohio

1 Response

Hi there,

Buckeyes are susceptible to a disease called leaf blotch. This is one of our fact sheets about growing buckeye trees:http://cfaes.osu.edu/news/articles/ohio-state-fans-7-things-know-about-growing-ohio-buckeye-tree.

From the US Department of Agriculture fact sheet, http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.369.6344&rep=rep1&type=pdf, comes this bit of information:

Management
Leaf scorch and leaf blotch are usually the most serious problems of Ohio buckeye. Leaf scorch, seemingly a response to heat and drought along urban
streets, results in browning of the leaf margins. By late summer to early fall the trees look unsightly and are often partially defoliated. Air pollution may be
more responsible for this problem than heat or drought. The leaf blotch (Guignardia aesculi) begins as brown spots or blotches on the leaves and may eventually give the tree a scorched appearance. This disease may slow the growth rate but does no permanent damage to the tree and can be controlled on ornamentals.

Cornell addresses control of this fungus in this fact sheet: http://branchingout.cornell.edu/Back_Samples/20(5)/20(5)May31Insert.pdf. As with many fungal diseases, control can be helped by cleaning up the fallen leaves beneath the tree and removing them from the site. And, although buckeyes do like moist soil, they also want it to be well-drained. Standing water could exacerbate the fungus, as would the sprinkler system water hitting the leaves of the tree. Make sure your sprinkler head does not aim that high. Fungicide can be applied early in the spring, but that becomes an extremely high maintenance situation.

Best of luck.