TCD signs and symptoms
TCD only affects walnut species. In Missouri, that means eastern black walnut and butternut. At first glance, trees like pecan, tree-of-heaven, goldenraintree, and black locust can be mistaken for a black walnut tree. So, to begin, make sure your tree is a walnut. To identify a walnut tree, look for the following:
- Above left, black walnut leaves are compound leaves (a group of leaflets joined by a stalk to a woody stem), 12 to 14 inches long with nine to 25 leaflets; each leaflet is three to five inches longs with toothed margins.
- Center, the compound leaves are arranged in an alternate fashion, spiraling around the twig.
- Above right, the overall lighter, yellow-green leaf color of black walnut makes it fairly distinguishable from the darker green foliage of our oaks and hickories. The invasive tree species, tree-of-heaven, is oftentimes mistaken for a walnut tree. But, it does not have the chocolate brown inner bark color of walnut.
Additional information on walnut identification
Symptoms are not visible until several years after initial attack by walnut twig beetles and may appear on several trees in an area.
Early symptoms include mid-summer yellowing and wilting of foliage high in the crown; limbs usually die back from the top downward.
Limbs are killed with dead, wilted leaves attached.
New sprouts may grow from roots or trunk below dead limbs.
Removing bark from dying limbs 1-2 inches in diameter exposes dark brown cankers (areas of discolored tissue) around walnut twig beetle about the width of a pencil lead. Cutting more deeply into the wood of the tree removes evidence of cankers and beetle tunnels.
Walnut twig beetles are smaller than a grain of rice and difficult to find.
Thousand cankers disease gets its name from the multitude of cankers created by the repeated boring of a walnut twig beetle carrying the fungal spores. Although an individual canker is small in size, the sheer number of cankers overlap one another, killing the tissues responsible for transporting water and food throughout the tree.
Do not mistake the walnut twig beetle with other walnut wood boring insects
There are several native boring insects commonly found on stressed black walnut trees in Missouri. But they are larger, left, compared to the walnut twig beetle, right, and do not indicate TCD.
In addition, Missouri black walnut trees are occasionally affected by several other diseases and insects, especially on poor sites exposed to the severe 2012 drought. A key to black walnut problems can be found at http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/howtos/ht_walnut/key.htm