BDN interviews Livingston about black spots on maple leaves

William Livingston, an associate professor of forest resources at the University of Maine, spoke with the Bangor Daily News for an article about black blotches that are often found on maple tree leaves in Maine. The black tar spot fungus affects Norway maple trees, which are native species of Europe, not New England, according to Livingston. However, the trees are prevalent throughout much of the Northeast, and the specific fungus does not impact the region’s native maple trees, according to the article. While the fungus becomes more visible toward the middle and end of summer, the disease claims the Norway maple leaves in the spring. At this time, any infected leaves that remain on the ground from the previous fall can release fungal spores that have remained dormant, Livingston said. Since fungi thrive in moist conditions, a wet spring can amplify the spreading of these spores, as it did this year, the article states. “[The fungus is] just feeding on the leaf for its food,” Livingston said. “So it’s like mold growing on bread that’s getting food from the bread.”