Massaria Disease of Plane MDP
Massaria Disease of Plane MDP
London Plane trees - Massaria Fungal Infection

MDP - Massaria Disease of London Plane Trees

Massaria is a fungus which infects plane tree branches. It normally infects branches which are less than 10cm in diameter but has been found in branches up to 20cm. An infected branch may be still be in leaf and alive but can be substantially weakened by the disease, leading to possible breakage. The disease always attacks the upper side of the branch and is difficult to spot from the ground for this reason. In the early stages a long pink brown strip can be seen, followed by brown and then a black strip with spores.

Below is an entertaining video highlighting the plight of London Plane Trees.

Symptoms of Massaria Disease of London Plane Trees

  • A strip of dead bark on the top of the branch, tapering at the end
  • Smaller branches, will die within a year
  • Dead bark flaking off revealing orange coloured sapwood underneath
  • Larger branches may need aerial inspection to reveal symptoms
  • Generally found on shaded mid to lower canopy branches
  • Most frequently found in matures tree which are 40+ years old

It's generally agreed that Massaria will not cause the death of the tree. The danger is one of personal injury due to falling branches.

How We Can Help

The disease deploys rapidly (within months) which means that Plane Trees need to be inspected frequently to fulfill ' Duty of Care' obligations. this is a costly exercise - Massaria in the UK was first found in Islington, London in 2010. Islington has over 2500 Plane Trees which are inspected three times a year at a cost of £35,000 per inspection. As yet, no one has produced definitive research on the mechanism of Massaria attack or how to eliminate it. Hot, dry weather conditions which lead to stress on the tree seem to be favourable for the spread of Massaria so trees will need inspecting every three of four months.

The main focus of the tree inspections is early detection and pruning of infected branches. As the disease starts on the top of branches, aerial platform systems or specialist tree climbing consultants are required. Our Specialist Tree Consultant will recommend the best course of action to deal with Massaria. Any cut material will need to be disposed of in a biologically secure way to prevent the disease from spreading. Our recommended Tree Surgeons are Licensed Waste Carriers and can do this for you, or the material can be burnt on site.

PDFDownload the LTOA Guide to Massaria Disease of London Plane Trees

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