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Plantwise Technical Factsheet

sapstreak disease of maple (Ceratocystis virescens)

Host plants / species affected
Acer campestre (field maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
List of symptoms/signs
Leaves  -  abnormal forms
Leaves  -  yellowed or dead
Stems  -  dieback
Stems  -  rot
Whole plant  -  plant dead; dieback
Symptoms
The principal external symptoms are the yellowing and dwarfing of leaves on one or more major branches. This leads to local dieback. The entire tree dies within 2-4 years. If an affected tree is cut down, it will be found that, at the base, most of the cross-section is occupied by a zone of yellow-green water-soaked wood. This is most pronounced at the centre of the tree and radiates outwards to give a more or less star-shaped pattern. At the margins blackish-green flecks can be found. If a diseased tree is cut down, a dark-grey mat of the fungus may form on the cut surface within a few days. Endoconidiophores will be present and perithecia may form.
Prevention and control
In North America, no control measures are practised. Kessler (1978) and Houston (1993) propose some management approaches.
Impact
In North America, damage is on a small scale. The disease is principally found in "sugar bushes", i.e. stands of Acer saccharum being tapped for maple sap. Kessler (1978) described it as a serious threat to A. saccharum forest. Infected trees do not recover and timber salvage value is low because of the discoloration of the wood. However, C. virescens has not apparently invaded North American forests in that way, and remained a pathogen mainly of tapped sugar-maple trees (Houston, 1994), attracting little attention in the literature.
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