Bacterial Leaf Scorch

Bacterial Leaf Scorch (Xylella fastidiosa)

Bacterial Leaf Scorch affecting oak trees, spots appear on foliage that looks as if the oak tree has been burned and laboratory testing is required to confirm this disease.

What is Bacterial Leaf Scorch?

Bacterial Leaf Scorch is a tree disease caused by the bacteria Xylella fastidiosa. It is a serious threat to many tree species and can cause significant damage to trees, leading to reduced growth, premature leaf drop, and even death.

The bacteria is transmitted from tree to tree by various insects, including leafhoppers and spittlebugs. It infects the tree’s xylem, the vascular tissue that transports water and nutrients throughout the plant. Once the bacteria are present in the xylem, they clog the tubes, preventing the tree from receiving the water and nutrients it needs to survive.

Common Bacterial Leaf Scorch Symptoms

Symptoms of Bacterial Leaf Scorch typically appear in the summer or fall, when the tree is under stress due to drought or other environmental conditions. The first sign of infection is often a yellowing or browning of the leaves on one or more branches of the tree. As the disease progresses, the infected leaves will turn necrotic and fall off prematurely. The tree may also develop dead branches or a thin crown.

  • Yellowing or browning of the leaves.
  • Leaves falling off prematurely.
  • Dead branches or thin crowns.

Prevention and Treatment

There is no cure for Bacterial Leaf Scorch, and infected trees will eventually die if left untreated. However, proper management of the disease can help extend the life of an infected tree and reduce the risk of spreading the disease to other trees.

One of the most effective ways to manage Bacterial Leaf Scorch is by identifying and removing infected trees. This can be difficult, as the bacteria can be present in a tree for several years before symptoms appear. However, trees that are heavily infected or showing severe symptoms should be removed as soon as possible to prevent the spread of the disease.

Another important aspect of managing Bacterial Leaf Scorch is ensuring that trees are properly watered and maintained. This includes providing adequate irrigation during times of drought, applying mulch to help retain moisture in the soil, and fertilizing to help the tree maintain its strength.

In addition to these management strategies, there are several preventive measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of Bacterial Leaf Scorch. One of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of the disease is by controlling the insect vectors that transmit the bacteria. This can be done through the use of insecticides or by planting trees that are resistant to the disease.

Another preventive measure is to plant trees in well-draining soil, as the bacteria thrive in wet conditions. It is also important to avoid pruning or wounding trees during the growing season, as this can increase the tree’s susceptibility to infection.


Bacterial Leaf Scorch is a serious threat to many tree species and can have significant impacts on both urban and natural environments. However, by taking preventative measures and properly managing the disease, it is possible to reduce the risk of infection and extend the life of affected trees. Looking for other Tree Diseases?

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As a North Texas-based tree care company, does more than just provide industry-leading tree care, we’re here to serve our beloved community. By giving our North Texas trees proper care and maintenance through routine tree check-ups and treating them for oak wilt when necessary, we can promote a greener, more sustainable North Texas community. For help with tree disease treatment and tree nutrition, tree care and tree insect management, soil conditioning, and more, contact our ISA Certified Arborists to get started. is a full-service sustainable tree care company offering residential and commercial tree services in DallasWacoAustinFort Worth, San Marcos, San Antonio, DFW, and more. Contact our North Texas tree care experts at (817) 799-7808 and enjoy 5-star rated tree care customer service and the best tree health services in North Texas!

To learn more about North Texas Tree Diseases:Β Actinopelte Leaf Spot, Anthracnose, Bacterial Leaf Scorch, Crown Gall, Dutch Elm Disease, Hypoxylon Canker, Oak Leaf Blister, Oak Wilt, Rapid Oak Decline, Sudden Oak Death, call our North Texas team of Arborist

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