Pests & Diseases

McFarland’s is there for you!  Whether you’re in need of diagnostic services or help with those pruning and landscape projects around your home, we’re there and we care.  Be sure to check out our FAQ’S (Frequently Asked Questions) page or our Services page to see how we can help!


This brief overview has been designed to help address some of the most common diseases in our area. Please keep in mind that tree care can be complicated and this is in no way a complete explanation of these complex topics.  If you feel that your landscape has been compromised by a disease or pest shown below, please call our office or request an appointment with an arborist via the contact page.

Pests and Diseases   

Q. My maple leaves have black spots or my bark has mold.

A. The following are links to photos of tar spot and lichen. Please note that while aesthetically displeasing, neither tar spot nor lichen are harmful to your tree and there truly is no treatment save cleaning up any fallen leaves and hand scrubbing the bark which may or may not impact the recurrence of this disease the following year.

Q. My crabapple tree has spotted leaves and/or premature leaf drop.

A. The following are links to photos of scab and leaf spot. This is a common fungal disease prevalent to crab, cherry and various other trees in Michigan.

Q. My sycamore has spotted or browning leaves and/or premature leaf drop.

A. The following are links to photos of anthracnose. This is a common fungal disease prevalent, though now specific, to sycamore and sometimes dogwood trees.

Q. My euonymus or magnolia tree has bumps on its branches that seem to be seeping.

A. The following are links to photos of scale. This is a common insect infestation of euonymus and magnolia trees, however, it can affect a multitude of other trees and shrubs.

Q.There seems to be sticky stuff coming from my trees and covering everything underneath!

A. The following are links to photos of aphids. These insects are quite small and sometimes hard to see, however, the presence of ladybugs or wasps as well as the telltale sticky residue is a pretty good indication of an infestation.

Q. My cedar, juniper or hawthorn has odd orange colorations or masses appearing.

A. The following are links to photos of cedar apple rust. From yellow/orange spotted leaves to strange, orange jelly type growths and sometimes oddly spiked fruits, this fungal disease manifests itself in various ways as you can see from the photos.

Q. My spruce has green to brown, small pinecone type growths.

A. The following are links to photos of spruce gall adelgid damage. The spruce gall adelgid infects the new buds of spruce trees causing 2”-4” swelling growths. Initially the growths appear green. Near mid-summer, after the insect is done feeding and leave the host plant, these growths will dry out and turn brown.

Q. My tree has worms / caterpillars on it. What kind are they and can they hurt my tree?

A. Most worms / caterpillars are leaf or needle eaters and will quickly cause damage to your trees be they deciduous or evergreen. The following are links to photos of the most common worms / caterpillars in Michigan: Canker worms, Pine Sawfly Larvae, Gypsy Moth Caterpillars, Web / Tent Worms.

Q. My birches leaves are browning or have strange tunneling throughout them.

A. The following are links to leaf miner damage. Though there may be other causes for the browning leaves, the shallow tunnels forming river like lines throughout the leave are a good indicator of leaf miner infestation.

Q. My pine trees have masses of white sap on the trunk.

A. The following is a link to Zimmerman Moth Larvae damage. The larvae of these insects damage pines by tunneling underneath the bark. Injuries can often be seen at branch crotches in the form of white to pale yellow, popcorn like masses of sap.

Q. My pine and / or spruce trees needles are turning brown.

A. Unfortunately there are no easy answers to this condition. From mites to blights, there are several diseases and insects common to this area that affect pines and spruces causing similar visual damage. The best way to identify and address the problem is to enlist the professional diagnostic skills of a certified arborist. McFarland’s is proud to say we always have one or more certified Arborists on staff at all times.

For over 86 years safety and effectiveness has been the trademark of McFarland Tree Service, Inc and we are
proud to offer effective treatment programs to meet the needs of your individual landscape.

Remember, the care of your plants begins and ends with you.  Proper management of pests and disease
requires homeowner vigilance.  Please check your yard and trees often and call us immediately if you have any
concerns.  Thank you for choosing McFarlands!