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Fungus Hits Local Maple Trees 

You might have seen lots of brown leaves on the ground lately. No, it’s not fall yet. A fungus is infecting maple trees throughout the state, including some in Bangor.Leaves on maple trees around town have been turning brown with tar spots and falling to the ground.”It’s the Rhytisma fungus, Acerinum. It’s particularly fond of the Norway Maples,” says Brian Dugas, a Bangor City Forester. He says while the fungus doesn’t look good, it’s not really harmful to most trees.”It is considered a nuisance fungus. It’s nothing to get really concerned about unless you have a tree that’s under a severe strain and has been experiencing dieback for many years. And if it’s a weakened tree, it’s certainly going to weaken the tree some more,” Dugas says.He says all our wet weather means the infection is serious in the city this year, especially in sheltered areas, like along the Kenduskeag stream.”As the season progresses, these spots – they start as small, black spots, grow in a circular pattern and coalesce into a solid black tar spot. In August, if the infection is serious enough, it desiccates a lot of the foliage and that’s when you see the browning of the entire canopy of the tree,” he says.Dugas says the key to keep the fungus from spreading is simple sanitation. Rake up infected leaves and bury them in your garden, or burn them.”The problem we have in this area is the Norway Maple is an invasive species. It’s taken over much of the woods of the city, which makes it difficult to control.”