Fungus blackens aspen leaves near Steamboat |

Fungus blackens aspen leaves near Steamboat

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. ” A fungus is cutting a swath through aspen trees in Routt County, leaving behind black flecks and dead leaves.

County extension agent C.J. Mucklow says it’s not the blight known as sudden aspen decline, which has killed stands of trees in western Colorado. But the fungus could mean that fewer aspens around Steamboat Springs will have the vibrant gold leaves that draw visitors to the mountains each fall.

Mucklow says the spread of the fungus can be slowed if people rake up and dispose of dead leaves. The fungus survives the winter in fallen leaves.

While the fungus isn’t fatal, it can make aspen trees more susceptible to other diseases.