Diseases of ornamental pear trees with brown leaves

Updated February 21, 2017

Ornamental pear trees, such as the Bradford pear, are susceptible to a variety of diseases and problems that cause their leaves to turn brown. Diagnose and treat problems to encourage the growth of young green leaves, or identify an ornamental tree that needs to be replaced so your garden remains healthy.

Fire blight

Fire blight is a disease that affects a variety of trees, pear trees included; this bacterial disease lives in dead or rotted portions of the pear tree called cankers over the winter and begins affecting trees in the spring. One of the most visible symptoms of fire blight is brown leaves. Two applications of the bactericide streptomycin are required for control of fire blight, in addition to pruning. Resistant tree varieties exist.

Leaf spot disease

Entomosporium leaf spot is a fungal disease that affects ornamental pear trees such as the Bradford pear. This disease causes the edges of the leaves to turn brown or reddish as it spreads through the tree. Untreated entomosporium leaf spot leads to premature defoliation, or early leaf loss, on ornamental pear trees. Treat the tree with a fungicide spray according to the directions on the package.

Root rot

Root rot is a fungal disease that grows in standing water or excessively moist soil around ornamental pear trees. Root rot affects the roots of the tree first, gradually spreading throughout the remainder of the tree. Ornamental pear leaves suffering from root rot will weaken and turn brown over time as the tree declines. Premature leaf loss and dieback can result from root rot. Prune the tree and apply a fungicide to keep it healthy.

Crown rot

Crown rot is a fungal disease similar to root rot. Crown rot causes the leaves of ornamental pear trees to turn brown as it spreads throughout the tree's veins and growth systems. As with root rot, crown rot can be successfully treated with cultural care such as pruning and chemical fungicides that help kill the spores and control the spread of the disease. Preventing fungal diseases from spreading through the garden is key to keeping ornamental pear trees healthy.

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About the Author

Bailey Shoemaker Richards is a writer from Ohio. She has contributed to numerous online and print publications, including "The North Central Review." Shoemaker Richards also edits for several independent literary journals and the Pink Fish Press publishing company. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from Ohio University.