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Looking for service that'll comment on leaf damage, possible chemical analysis.

Hi all.
Essentially as heading days - I'm looking for a service that'll examine photos of my tree's leaves, to try and work out if the cause of the damage was 'external'. Also to possibly to carry out a chemical analysis of the same.
I notice that the RHS might do such a thing, but I wonder if there are (better) alternatives?


  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 11,142
    There's a wealth of experience on this forum.
    Why not post you photos here in the first instance and see if we can help?

    Billericay - Essex

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • steephillsteephill Posts: 2,814
    Look for an arboriculturist, they should be able to diagnose problems. It may be difficult to give a diagnosis as we head into Autumn though. You would probably need to identify which chemicals you are looking for to any analytical lab and it won't be cheap.

  • PnDPnD Posts: 22
    Thanks Steephill.

    Is an arboriculturist different from an arborist?!

    Anyone know what the RHS service is like?

  • PnDPnD Posts: 22
    Ok, some photos :smile:
    Context - this was discovered after us being away overnight. There was no damage prior to this, but two days later:

    1) The whole damaged part of the tree. (You can see that the rest of the tree is still in full bloom)

    2) Typical damage to leaves.

    3, 4, 5) Close-ups of leaves.

    6) Leaves immediately behind the damaged area - in good health, but closest leaves show some spots of damage.

    7, 8, 9) Laurel bush below and to the side of this tree - in good health, but a few areas of damage on close-up:

    Thoughts?! :-)


  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,856
    As I understand it, arborists are trained to prune or fell trees and can tell when it's needed as well as having all the correct gear and insurance.  Arboriculturalists know how to grow them and diagnose problems and can advise.

    The RHS has a world class plant and pathology laboratory at Wisley with experts who can diagnose problems and advise treatments.   I have use their plant identification service several times since I moved here 5 years ago as there are new - to me - plants I didn't recognise.  That service is free to members.

    Added bonuses of joining are the monthly magazine, free access to all RHS gardens and partner gardens, members only days at the shows and, for UK based members, the seed sharing scheme. 

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 11,142
    What is the tree?
    In the 2nd pic there appears to be a branch that has turned partially black which can be a sign of a fungal infection such as verticillium wilt.
    The fungus blocks the flow of water and nutrients so the infected area dies back

    Billericay - Essex

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,122
    It's also worth having a close look at the bark at/near the base of the affected branches on both plants. If there's damage to the bark (eg eaten by deer, or wind damage) that can stop the branch getting water, and can let fungal disease in.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • PnDPnD Posts: 22
    Hi Pete.
    It's a Tulip tree, around 10 years old.
    I'm pretty sure that 'partially black' branch is just shadow, but will confirm when the current downpour stops :smile: .
    Would a fungal infection go from green glossy leaves to that in 2 days?
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 11,142
    Thanks - yes I was doing some serious weeding not long ago and got drenched running about 50ft to the house!

    If it is just shadow all well and good.
    It does appear that your tree is susceptible to verticillum wilt- (page 3)
    so it may be that
    There's an RHS article here that may help you diagnose-

    VW can take hold quickly - I have an acer with it and chop dead bits off it in spring and autumn, but to go from healthy to the pic above in 2 days is going some for anything. Even if it was sprayed with a herbicide it wouldn't die back that fast.
    The color of the leaves indicates that the tree has stopped providing them with nutrients for some time as the chlorophyll has gone.
    Have a look at that branch to check if it's still alive - just scrape the surface of the branch (where the dead leaves are) with a fingernail and see if you can see green underneath

    Billericay - Essex

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • I can recommend the RHS advice service too - free, as Obelixx says, to members - having used it last year when I needed identification of a tree problem, which turned out to be honey fungus.  The correspondence was very thorough, asking for several different photos and answering my questions in depth.
    Since 2019 I've lived in east Clare, in the west of Ireland.
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