Tulip Poplar problems #144576 - Ask Extension

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Tulip Poplar problems #144576

Asked July 31, 2013, 11:27 PM EDT

I have two young (5 years?) tulip poplar trees in my yard. This spring one of them has started to look diseased. The bark has gotten very black and I've noticed small growths all along the thin branches. Yesterday it looked like June bugs were clustered on some of the branches where the growths were. I am wondering if the tree is diseased or has been damaged by insects. I don't want the other tree to be affected.

Kent County Delaware

Expert Response

Hello, Without seeing a sample from your tree, it is difficult to tell for sure. This season has been very unusual with weather extremes of cold and warm, wet and dry. Overall we are above our normal rainfall, and some soils are saturated. If your trees are in an area where drainage may be poor, roots may be affected. The black material you describe on the twigs sounds like sooty mold, which is fungal growth of harmless organisms that grow on the excrement or "honeydew" of insects such as aphids and scale insects. You may have scale insects on those twigs, not outgrowths from the tree itself. Other insects parasitize or eat the scale insects. I would suggest submitting a branch sample to your local county Extension office, so we can tell for sure, and suggest the best treatment. For Kent County, Delaware, your closest office would be at the Paradee Center south of Dover on 113. My best, Nancy
Nancy Gregory Replied August 01, 2013, 5:55 PM EDT

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