What Are Wool Sower Galls?
Wool sower galls are a type of fungal infection caused by the species of fungus called Aspergillus fumigatus. They occur when a mite feeds on the outside of a plant’s leaves or stems causing them to become infected with the fungus. The fungi then grow outwards from these areas where they eventually cause white spots to appear on plants’ foliage (Figure 1). These fungal growths may look like little white dots, but they are actually larger than a grain of rice.
Figure 1: White spots on leaves caused by Aspergillus fumigatus.
The symptoms vary depending upon the severity of the infection. Some types of wool sower galls do not affect the plant at all, while others can kill it completely if left untreated. A severe case will result in death within two weeks without treatment!
Symptoms of Wool Sower Gall Symptoms
Aspergillosis can cause many different symptoms including:
– Leaf drop – Leaves may begin to droop and die.
– Yellowing of leaves – Leaves may turn yellow and fall off their stems.
– Stem rot – The stem may start rotting away leaving the plant unable to support itself.
If you see any of these symptoms, you should take action immediately. Other types of wool sower galls cause no visible symptoms and can only be detected during a laboratory test. If your plant is infected with this type of wool sower gall there will be no visual clues to its presence, but it may still be slowly killing your plant.
Interestingly, a survey by the United States Forest Service found that more than 75% of landscape plants in Southern California were infected with fungal growths. This is not as unusual as you might think. Fungi are opportunistic organisms and love trees and plants that are under stress for whatever reason. This could be anything from construction work to drought and heatwaves (like the one currently affecting southern United States).
What is Aspergillosis?
Aspergillosis is a fungal disease caused by Aspergillus species of fungi. These are commonly found everywhere in soil, plants, and even air. They typically do no harm unless the conditions are right for them to spread. The fungi will only cause a problem if there is a ‘weak spot’ in the plant’s defenses, such as a wound or an infection. Once inside, the fungal spores will spread through the plant via the xylem (the vascular system that transports water and nutrients up from the roots and leaves) and produce more spores.
Aspergillosis is very serious and can be fatal if left untreated. Fortunately, it’s rare in post-industrialized countries such as the United States, but it does occur occasionally in hospitals where immunocompromised patients are present.
What is Wool Sower Gall?
Wool sower gall is a type of Aspergillosis that is caused by the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus. It’s one of the most common types of wood rots found in plants, but fortunately it’s rare for it to infect humans and only does so if the person has a pre-existing condition that weakens their immune system (such as AIDS or cancer).
Wool sower gall first appears as a small white dot that slowly spreads throughout the leaves of the plant. It’s not always easy to spot, but if you look closely at the veins of the leaves you may see a small white dot. These dots gradually get bigger as the infection spreads until they cover the entire leaf blade. The infected leaves will then turn yellow and fall off (Fig.
To learn how to treat your plant, read on!
The first step in treating Aspergillosis is to remove any infected leaves as soon as you spot the white speckles, or at the very least trim off as much of the infected area as possible. This stops the infection from spreading and depriving the plant of what little nutrients and water it has available.
Next, remove any nearby weeds as they can act as a reservoir for the fungus.
Finally, you will need to treat the soil with a fungicide. Unless you’re an expert or have some other compelling reason, never attempt to treat the plant itself with a fungicide as you risk damaging it severely. The best way to apply a fungicide is by mixing it in with the soil. Once again though, unless you’re an expert or know what you’re doing, don’t try this at home as you could easily make the problem much worse.
I wish you the best of luck, and please be careful.
If you have any more questions, please let me know.
Sources & references used in this article:
Oak Galls: A Strange Biology Indeed! by EP Felt – 1917 – University of the State of New York
Gall insects and their relations to plants by WJ Hayden – Bulletin of the Virginia Native Plant Society, 2011 – scholarship.richmond.edu
The Natural News by EP Felt – The Scientific Monthly, 1918 – JSTOR
Insect Identification Laboratory Annual Report 1999 by B by Galls, R McQueen – disjunctnaturalists.com