Tree bark disease- aristocrat pear

Asked October 23, 2020, 3:58 PM EDT

I have what appears to be some kind of fungal disease in one of my aristocrat pear trees, with chunks of bark coming off over time. I have tried spraying fungicides such as daconil, but it seems to slowly progress nonetheless. Any suggestions on how to treat this?

Fayette County Kentucky

3 Responses

The green that you are seeing isn't a fungal disease. Its a natural occurrence called lichen and it's completely harmless to the tree. The bark could be coming off for several reason, but physical injuries and vascular disease are the first things that come to mind. Either way, there's nothing you can do for a tree that has lost/is losing bark other than keep mowers and weed-eaters away from it to prevent any potential further damage. Best advice I have is just to enjoy the tree while it's still here.

Thank you for this response. I did know that the green was lichen but I appreciate you making sure. The reason why I thought it was somehow fungal is that when the bark comes off, the bottom layer of it in that region is dark, moist, and spongy, unlike the heathy bark. I've only lived in this house for 3 years, but i have been careful to not damage the trunk with mower or weed eater, and to try to keep mulch from contact with trunk during that time. It is also about a 30 year old pear tree, so I also thought it could just be an end-of-life issue. Any additional thoughts based off of this additional information? Thank you for your time.

The additional information certainly doesn't hurt! However, regardless of all the possible things that could/couldn't have happened to this tree or what is/isn't causing the current situation, when bark begins coming off of a tree of that age, there is nothing that can be done or that needs to be done. Bark coming off itself is not always an indicator of a bad problem, but moist and spongy wounds where bark has came off is certainly an indicator of a disease problem. There is not viable treatment for trees that have disease within the vascular system like this one does. Age could certainly be exasperating these issues, but isn't a causal factor. And it's also good to consider the age of the tree when deciding the next steps. 30 years is a long life for an ornamental pear tree! Please feel free to call us at the Fayette County Extension Office for any further assistance, (859) 257-5582. Thanks!