What is Maple Tar Spot Disease?
Maple tar spot is a very visible problem for maple trees. It starts with small yellow spots on growing leaves, and by late summer these yellow spots expand into large black blotches that look just like tar has been dropped on the leaves. This is because a fungal pathogen in the genus Rhytisma has taken hold.
When the fungus initially infects a leaf, it causes a small 1/8-inch wide yellow spot. As the season progresses, that spot spreads, eventually growing up to 3/4 inches wide. The spreading yellow spot also changes colors as it grows, slowly turning from a yellow-green to a deep, tarry black.
The tar spots don’t emerge right away, but are typically obvious by mid to late summer. By the end of September, those black spots are at full size and may even appear to be rippled or deeply grooved like fingerprints. Don’t worry, though, the fungus only attacks the leaves, leaving the rest of your maple tree alone.
The black spots are fairly unsightly, but they don’t do any harm to your trees and will be shed when the leaves fall. Unfortunately, maple tree tar spot is spread on the wind, which means that your tree can get reinfected next year if spores happen to hitch a ride on the right breeze.
Maple Tar Spot Treatment
Because of the way maple tar spot disease is transmitted, complete control of maple tar spot is virtually impossible on mature trees. Prevention is the key with this disease, but if nearby trees are infected, you can’t reasonably expect to totally destroy this fungus without community support.
Start by raking all your maple’s fallen leaves and burning, bagging or composting them to eliminate the closest source of tar spot spores. If you leave the fallen leaves on the ground until spring, the spores on them will likely reinfect the new foliage and start the cycle again. Trees that have trouble with tar spots year after year may also be struggling with excessive moisture. You’ll do them a great favor if you increase the grade around them to eliminate standing water and prevent moisture build-up.
Trees may require treatment, especially if other trees have had a lot of their leaf surfaces covered by tar spots in the recent past. If you’re planting a younger maple in an area prone to maple tar spot, treat tar spot by applying a fungicide, like bayleton and mancozeb, at bud break and twice again in 7- to 14-day intervals is recommended.
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Help Your Team Become Unstoppable
Excerpt from The Power of Positive Leadership by Jon Gordon.
Since I played lacrosse in college I encouraged my daughter to play as well. But in elementary school, it didn’t look like she had a future in lacrosse. While the rest of the kids were running up and down the field she would stand still, pick grass, and look up at the sky. It was honestly very frustrating to watch. In middle school she started to get into the action a little more and I saw signs of life. We would often throw the ball around together and work on her stick skills. I saw improvement in practice but when she would play in the games she was very tentative.
I had to admit I wasn’t a very positive leader at the time and by pushing my expectations and frustrations on her, I almost caused her to quit playing. I was a classic transactional parent, where my identity was tied to her success. I read Joe Ehrmann’s book Inside Out Coaching, which is about being transformational instead of transactional, and it changed me as parent.
I still played and practiced with my daughter to help her improve but this time I did so with encouragement instead of frustration. In ninth grade she made the high school varsity team and even started a few games, but was benched because she missed a few passes in key games. I continued to encourage her. We would practice her dodges in the backyard often and she really improved, but she was still tentative and never tried to dodge and score in the games. I started to tell her she was unstoppable all the time. I would say “You are unstoppable, Jade. They can’t stop you. Take it to the goal. You are unstoppable.” This was funny because at the time she was very stoppable.
In the 10th grade she became a starter once again but was benched after not playing well one or two games. I knew she had it in her to be great but she wasn’t showing it. The old me would have yelled at her but the new me just encouraged her and kept telling her she was unstoppable. “Just take it to the cage and shoot, Jade. They can’t stop you. You are unstoppable.” I said it often and she would just smile. I kept hoping and praying she would realize her potential, unsure if it would ever happen. During her junior year I kept practicing with her and encouraging her and telling her she was unstoppable.
And then finally she became unstoppable. She scored 80 goals that season, 8 in the district finals and 7 in the state semifinals, to help her team make it to the state finals. She was named an Academic All American and received offers to play lacrosse in college. It was so enjoyable to watch her play and rewarding to know that we did it the right way. I had to experience the power of positive leadership firsthand before I could write a book on it. From almost ruining my daughter, to becoming a positive leader who encouraged and believed in her, I know the difference it makes.
What could your team accomplish at work or at home if they knew you truly believed in them? What could they achieve if they truly felt unstoppable? It’s amazing what people will accomplish when they know you believe in them. There’s a power associated with positive leadership and you can become one today!
P.S. My daughter decided to go to Clemson, where she is a freshman, instead of playing lacrosse in college but I’m still encouraging her to be unstoppable as she pursues a career in sports broadcasting and digital media.