Checking in on health of Buffalo's oldest tree

Posted at 6:56 PM, May 31, 2018

What is believed to be Buffalo’s oldest tree is dealing with a fungal infection. The American sycamore that towers over Franklin Street in the city’s Allentown neighborhood has been receiving treatments since last summer.

The tree has anthracnose, a common fungal infection for sycamores. The infection isn’t much cause for concern, it’s rarely deadly, according to Buffalo’s Deputy Commissioner for Parks and Recreation Andy Rabb.

But, given the tree’s age (believed to be around 300 years old) and it’s life in an urban environment, anthracnose serves as another added stressor.

Drave’s Tree Service has been treating the tree, free of charge, since last August. The tree responded well to treatments last year, but it’s too early in the year, especially after a harsh spring, to see how well it’s doing right now, Rabb said.

David Clark, a certified nursery and landscape professional and horticulture instructor at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, checked in on the tree with 7 Eyewitness News Thursday afternoon.

"Anthracnose can cause trees to have problems with their immune system," he said. "Because leaves coming down. It affects the energy level of the plant.

The discoloration around the base is natural among sycamore trees, Clark said.

It's too early in the season to know how well the tree handled the harsh spring and is responding to treatments, Rabb said. But, he said the treatments went well last year.

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