Willow Tree Diseases: Warning Signs of a Sick Tree

Carrying on with our commitment to helping you spot warning signs that your tree may be sick, Treesaw moves on to willow tree diseases. Willow trees may be some of the most instantly recognisable and beautiful trees that grace the UK, so you can be forgiven for being incredibly attached to your own. To preserve the life of your willow tree, be sure to familiarise yourself with the most common willow tree diseases, including their warning signs and the action you should take. If you’re concerned that your willow tree may be sick, take quick action and call us if you’re unsure what to do.

Black Canker and Willow Scab

These two willow tree diseases often go hand-in-hand and can be very destructive for your tree. You can spot the presence of black canker by looking for brown depressions on the leaves and lesions on your twigs. These dark spots and lesions, along with the warnings sign of willow scab which includes masses of spores in a green colour, can indicate the presence of these two diseases. This will then cause willow blight which leads to defoliation and then dieback. To avoid your willow tree dying, contact a professional.


Anthracnose can be very fast acting and deadly to willow trees, so it is important to catch it quickly. Look out for warning signs such as raised lesions and distorted leaf development, along with dark spots. Careful pruning (especially for young trees) along with the destruction of the infected leaves can mitigate or delay damage until a professional visits to assess the situation in full.

Crown Gall

A willow tree disease that is widely accepted as non-curable is crown gall. This fatal disease will require you to safely and professionally have the tree removed, and it is advised to not plant anything in the same area of soil for many years afterwards. The warning sign of crown gall on willow trees is ‘galls’ appearing at the base of the tree and sometimes spreading further up.

Due to the surprisingly delicate nature of the willow tree, many diseases can be fatal and could cause it to topple, endangering you or your property. Therefore, if you’re concerned that something about your willow tree seems like a warning sign for a disease, don’t hesitate to get in touch with professionals. Treesaw can offer advice over the phone and arrange a time to visit you in Leeds and the surrounding areas to work out what the best course of action is.