I have a Japanese maple with Verticillium wilt. It is doing okay for now and dropping its fall leaves. I don’t know what to do with those leaves, though. Can they be put into the city compost collection. What do I do with them? A few of the excellent replies mention offsite, but I don’t know what that actually means. Great site! Thank you.
Thanks for your question and thanks for visiting our site! Depending on the age/size of your Japanese Maple and the extent of the Verticillium fungal infection, you should consider pruning out any branches or limbs that show dieback. Dieback can occur anytime in the season and will appear strikingly different than normal loss of leaves in the fall. A certified arborist should be able to help you if you are not comfortable handling this yourself. Care must be taken to sterilize pruning equipment to prevent the spread of the fungus to other trees and shrubs. Ultimately, pruning will slow the spread of infection but will not cure it, as the fungus is soil-borne and enters the tree via its roots. Bag affected branches and leaves and dispose in the garbage. Do not compost them or put out for yard waste collection.
If you plan on adding more trees or shrubs to your landscape in the future, consider ones that are Verticillium-resistant, including beech (Fagus spp.), birch (Betula spp.), dogwood (Cornus spp.), linden (Tilia spp.), mountain-ash (Sorbus spp.), and aspen/poplar (Populus spp.).
For more information on Verticillium wilt, click here.
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For more information on growing Japanese Maples, click here.