Is this tree diseased?


This is the branch of my Tulip tree. Is it diseased? Should I have it taken down? I live in the east end of Toronto (Pape and Danforth neighbourhood).


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners about your Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) – a North American native tree which is fast-growing but shallow-rooted.

Your picture, which appears to be of the tree trunk, is quite helpful in identifying the probable issue – Nectria canker (Nectria magnoliae).  Nectria canker is usually not a fatal disease, but it can cause considerable damage as the cankered area is weakened and susceptible to breakage.  The damage may also be a site for infection by bacteria, virus or fungus and also for insect/bug infestation.  These issues may ultimately, over a period of time, cause tree demise. Also, the canker will adversely affect the appearance of the affected plant. This is a disease that often affects trees of the Magnolia family, to which the Tulip tree belongs.

With regards to general care, Tulip trees require a lot of water during the growing seasons. There has been less rain during the past few summers and not watering your tree during these dry periods may have contributed to the tree’s present condition.

Of note, if your hasn’t leafed out fully or you’ve noticed bare canopy areas over the last number of summers, the tree is probably dying and will need to be taken down sooner rather than later.  However, we would highly recommend you contact a certified arborist to verify the problem and help you decide how best to deal with it.

We wish you all the best.