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31/07/2014 at 22:48

My Rowan tree is showing signs that it may be dying. The leaves are starting to turn brown and the bark is splitting open on the trunk. Has anyone any ideas what is causing this? I had exactly the same problem with another about 3 years ago with the leaves not falling in the Autumn when they had totally turned brown and the bark on the trunk showed the same splitting. I had to resort to felling and replacing it.

31/07/2014 at 23:29
H Rowan-Mountain Ash Diseases

Healthy Mountain Ash trees are gorgeous specimens that can help brighten up even the most unattractive yards. However, the species is not immune to diseases that can rob it of its beauty and charm.

Among the most common infections that afflict the Mountain Ash tree include:

  • Cytospora Canker: This fungal disease targets the tree's trunk and branches by peppering it with brown, irregular shaped cankers. The ugly pimple-like masses can ooze and spread throughout the Mountain Ash. In severe case, the disease can kill the tree.
  • Fire Blight: This infection kills the tree's flowers and leaves. Symptoms include black leaves, brown flower clusters and spores that ooze slime and infect the tree's branches.
  • Leaf Spot: This shows as irregular, brown spots on leaves. If left untreated, tiny, black spores will form as well. Advance cases also cause leaves to drop prematurely.

Mountain Ash is also susceptible to sawflies which can defoliate the tree within a few days.

 Found the above while surfing and thought it might help you with a diagnosis!

01/08/2014 at 16:22

 This is what the leaves, berries and bark look like. Looks like it might be Leaf Spot plus something else. Anyone any ideas what it is and how to cure it?


01/08/2014 at 17:07

That splitting of the bark at the base of the tree looks extremely serious and possibly a sign of Honey fungus, unfortunately.  It would also explain why you recently lost another one.  Have a look at the RHS advice:


02/08/2014 at 12:14


Thanks for that. However, looking at the RHS link you sent me I don't think its Honey Fungus as there are no signs at the base of the tree and the splits in the bark go up to at lease 3m.

02/08/2014 at 13:20

It might be another form of fungus, Magnum.  Try poking a large screwdriver etc through one of the cracks in the bark into the heartwood of the tree.  It should be solid.  If it crumbles, then the heartwood is rotting and it will be terminal as the wood will have lost it's strength and the tree will be prone to being blown down by the wind, or branches may fall under their own weight, making it dangerous.  Have a good sniff through the cracks too - any hint of a "mushroomy" smell would also indicate a fungal infection.  Those are not treatable, unfortunately.

02/08/2014 at 15:00

 This is what it looks like under the bark. There is no mushroomy smell and no signs of oozing. A screwdriver only goes in about 5mm.


02/08/2014 at 18:58

I think Buddyboy is right.

20/09/2014 at 10:01

I have a similar problem and from the thread I think that my tree has Leaf Spot.  I have been unable to find any information relating to the treatment (if there is one) .  Any information would be appreciated.

14/10/2014 at 12:33

Ive got 2 trees one garden centre bought another from wild stock the one from wild stock has grown the bigger but both have always had good foliage and berries to feed the local birds the wild one this rear is bare of folage and berries the other is still looking lovely covered in leaf and berry the wild one my favoured one looks so sad and the branches are looking deformed with big knobbly growths any idea whats wrong with it

31/05/2015 at 12:15

Just to let you all know. No sign of sprouting this year so fell victim to the chainsaw. Centre of trunk bone dry with no sap rising.

31/05/2015 at 12:18

19/06/2015 at 10:01

I have a rowan that overall appears to be in good health and as I write is covered in developing berries. However the bark of one large branch is badly split and this damage is starting to creep down the trunk. The damaged branch has had foliage in previous years but this year is completely bare. A neighbour tells me that it might be a fungal infection caused by pruning. Should I amputate the damaged branch, and if so, would it save the tree?

21/06/2015 at 21:01

I have a rowan tree which is at least 20 years old and which ordinarily produces plenty of red berries.  This year, however, for the first time ever, only one side of the tree is covered in leaves; the other side is bare, save for a generous coverage of ivy which has steadily over the years grown up each of the stems on the side that is now bare.  Most of these stems are now discoloured (orange) and the bark is soft and spongy.  Bark on main trunk has also started to split, revealing a rusty brown colour beneath.  Any advice as to what I should do (if anything)?

22/06/2015 at 07:12

Pat - if the rot has spread back to the trunk I'm not sure that there's anything that can be done.  Could you post a picture for us to have a look at please?


Paul - I'm sorry but it does sound as if your rowan is on its last legs. 

22/06/2015 at 17:44

Never realised Rowan trees suffered from all these problems, maybe I will think twice about having one

22/06/2015 at 17:46

Most trees are susceptible to various problems if they are not growing well and under stress.  However a tree that is in good condition and growing strongly is usually able to throw off  most bacteria/fungal attacks etc.

04/07/2015 at 20:22

My Rowan tree has got a disease that I would like some help in identifying if possible?  I think that it is probably leaf spot or fire blight but I am not sure.  The leaves have been developing brown spots and some defoliation has started.  The bark does not seem particularly bad and I cannot see any signs of honey fungus when I cut a little bark away. I have cut away a couple of branches and there is some dark stains inside the branches.  If it is leaf spot does anyone know how to tell if this is caused by bacteria or fungus? I would like to treat the tree if it can be saved but I need to identify the exact problem first.

06/07/2015 at 12:49

Thanks for your advice Charlie November.  My only concern is that it has been infected a while, since I have only recently moved to this property and noticed it.  There may be nothing left that is not infected.


28/07/2015 at 11:52

I wish I could be of help as it might thow some light on my problem. My Rowan which has yellow berries has been ok untill this year when it has developed dropsy, all the leaves are dropping off one at a time.  We inherited it some two years ago so can't be sure of its age but I think about 15-17 years going by the age of the property.  We are in a very clay laden area in South Devon.


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