A 40 year old black walnut tree #572556 - Ask Extension


A 40 year old black walnut tree #572556

Asked June 20, 2019, 8:38 PM EDT

This black walnut has been healthy until last year. It developed a fungal or bacterial disease which resulted in the total loss of leaves by late August. I am enclosing a picture of a leaf. Groups of leaves are starting to drop. The tree is professionally fertilized yearly. Please idenitify this disease and methods of stopping this attack before the tree dies. It is a majistic specimin.
I cannot upload pictures as your site does not upload them. If you contact me I can submit  pictures and specimens to aid you.

Wayne County Michigan

Expert Response


One of your pictures came through 3 times. For each update to your question, you can load 3 pictures. So, to load more than 3, just submit your question, then go back in and update it with more pictures.

The picture appears to be anthracnose, a fungal disease common during wet springs. 

Clean ing up fallen leaves, twigs and fruit, and keeping the tree watered when weather is hot and dry, will help the tree. 

To prevent anthracnose, the tree must be sprayed with a fungicide in early spring as leaves are unfolding, and every 2-3 weeks while spring weather is wet. Once leaves are fully expanded and mature, they are much less prone to anthracnose and no spraying is necessary

Here are some articles for reference-



You may wish to consult a certified arborist, one who has taken training and passed certification testing. You can find them here by zip code-


Or, you may submit branch and leaf samples, with pictures of the whole tree, and pictures of leaves to MSU Plant Diagnostic lab. Instructions for sample taking and fee schedule are here-


They are majestic trees! Thank you.

Laura Sheffer Replied June 23, 2019, 2:51 PM EDT

One other issue is causing walnut leaves to fall early right now in lower Michigan. Butternut curculio insects cause leaves to fall- see pictures of where to look for damage here, and please compare to yours.


Laura Sheffer Replied June 23, 2019, 3:22 PM EDT

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