I got a new tree in the yard last year, for which I have great hopes of one day becoming a majestic shade tree with “buckeye” nuts falling on our heads. I am a Michigan State grad and loyal Spartan but I can’t help being charmed by the unique shape and color of a buckeye, regardless of the college rival they represent.
It was a distressing shock to me last fall when the leaves began to get ripped up and blackened on the edges. I called the nursery and they said it did not sound like “Blight”, but if I rake the leaves well away from the tree before the winter and then spray it next year I could eliminate serious issues. This year, the tree is gorgeous, with clumps of pink blossoms and five long fingers of leaves with ridges like a potato chip.
One week into the blooming, just as the leaves reached their full size, I began to notice yellow spots. In some areas the blackened rips were also appearing. No!! I took a picture and showed it to the expert at the nursery again. He said it looked like a mineral deficiency in the soil and sold me stuff to shake around the tree as well as a fungicide that could help to treat last year’s issue.
That night, as I applied all the treatments he recommended, I noticed lots of little flies on the leaves that buzzed around my head as I ducked under the branches. Hmmm, there were sure a lot of them. I took some time to look closer at the underside of the leaves and found that under each yellow spot was a cluster of something orange, like Cheetos dust. Insect eggs? Perhaps they had grown up last year to eat my leaves.
Well, I’m no Horticulturist, but I’m beginning to think my own investigation was more valuable than the advice from the expert. I want my tree to live a long and healthy life, so I guess I’m going to go back and ask a few more questions. I can’t see spraying the tree every year, especially after it gets tall and hard to reach, but maybe there is something I can do. Any advice out there?