The leading company in tree care service since 1907. Tip blights. For more information, visit https://extension.msu.edu. While beautiful in shape, color and texture, spruces are not native to our region, and that plays a role in their demise. Also, in many cases there may be more than one issue that is affecting your tree’s health. Bartlett’s Tree Topics blog follows in that tradition by offering a place to receive advice on trees, tree pests, tree preservation, and more. This information is for educational purposes only. Remove and destroy any diseased branches and needles by burning (where allowed), burying or hot composting. Overview. Canker diseases are most commonly found on trees under stress so landscape trees should be monitored closely. As a result, trees affected by needlecasts often have an outer “shell” of live needles on current shoots and dead needles on older shoots (Photo 3). • Cooley spruce galls are mainly on Colorado blue spruce and white spruce. Save For Later. June 28, 2019. Learn how to identify types of spruce trees, symptoms of two common fungal diseases, and what if any treatments are available. Population levels oscillate, sometimes reaching extreme outbreak levels that can cause extreme defoliation of and damage to spruce trees. As a result, they are stressed and more susceptible to fungal pathogens. New pathogens seem to be discovered annually, and the unusual weather conditions in recent years have further complicated everything. Dwarf varieties and properly spaced larger spruce varieties will have better air penetration and needles will dry more quickly. Michigan State University Extension programs and materials are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or veteran status. In recent years, most all spruce varieties have been having difficulty fighting off the fungal disease Rhizosphaera needle cast. Colorado blue spruce trees, although not native or adapted to Maryland, are commonly planted in landscapes for their attractive color and shape. Spruce trees are not able to form new needles where the old ones dropped. The classic symptoms of needle cast include brownish purple discoloration and eventual death of older needles, while current-year needles show no symptoms (Figure 1). Instructors. There are three principle types of diseases that affect blue spruce trees: needlecasts, tip blights and canker diseases. Jeffrey W. Dwyer, Director, MSU Extension, East Lansing, MI 48824. Photos 8-9. Michigan’s climate is generally more humid, especially in the summer, which is ideal for fungal pathogens to thrive. Bert Cregg, Christine McTavish, Andrew Jarosz, Jill O'Donnell, and Dennis Fulbright Michigan State University - For large or important landscape trees, homeowners should contact a professional arborist or tree care company. Being a leader in the tree care industry means continually focusing on learning and innovation. Kimberly Bohn, Ph.D. Former Extension Educator, Forestry and … Michigan’s climate is generally more humid, especially in the summer, which is ideal for fungal pathogens to thrive. Not sure if spider mites or not. Some of these conifer dieback symptoms appear in well-established trees. The key symptom of spruce decline is branch dieback, which progresses over two to four years and renders the plant’s appearance unacceptable for most homeowners (Photo 2). Frequently asked questions about spruce decline. Both diseases also can occur simultaneously and progressively speed up the decline of this popular tree. Environmental factors such as drought stress, elevated summer temperatures, and wetter growing seasons have played a significant role in twig dieback and needle defoliation. I held a white paper underneath and hit branch. There are, however, two plant diseases that commonly infect and disfigure them. In landscapes, Colorado blue spruces have been planted on some sites that are marginal for their success. In both cases, the insect pests are tiny and you may need a hand lens to see them. Tip blights are most common on pines, especially Austrian pines, but can also occur on spruces. This is a difficult question. Asked June 20, 2020, 7:56 AM EDT. As the disease progresses, the needles die, usually the year following the infection. Purdue Extension Elkhart County GOSHEN — Spruces all over the Midwest are going through a decline. Home to 240 rare plant and animal species, red spruce forests once covered the rocky peaks of West Virginia’s high country but were decimated by logging in the late 1800s and early 1900s. View bios on each of our bloggers, or click on a name to go to that blogger’s profile page. I have 3 spruce trees in landscape near each other. Issued in furtherance of MSU Extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Browning and loss of innermost needles on the lower branches is often the first visible symptom of Rhizosphaera. You might’ve noticed there’s something strange going on with the spruce trees in your neighborhood. Spruce spider mites. It’s called spruce decline and it’s mostly affecting Colorado blue spruce.. MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer. Michigan State University Extension recommends homeowners diversify their landscapes to help make their landscapes more resilient to pest and environmental changes, and seek to plant a variety of species wherever possible. For some disease issues, such as needlecasts, fungicides may be effective in preventing or controlling the disease. Unfortunately, blue spruce trees are subject to a wide range of insect and disease problems that can impact their growth and aesthetic appeal. If you can pin down a specific reason for the tree's decline, treat that reason directly. Find them at the tips of new growth. Both diseases also can occur simultaneously and progressively speed up the decline of this popular tree. Michigan’s climate is generally more humid, especially in the summer, which is ideal for fungal pathogens to thrive. Two needle cast diseases occur in North Dakota: Rhizosphaera needle cast and Stigmina needle cast. Finally, for decades the default diagnosis for most problems with blue spruce has been Rhizosphaera needlecast or Cytospora branch canker. To contact an expert in your area, visit https://extension.msu.edu/experts, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464). 1. Photos 3-5. • Current needles near galls may be green; needles are dead and discolored on older shoots with galls. Photo credits: Jill O’Donnell, MSU. Correct identification, often with microscopic observation, is important to identify the issue correctly. Canker diseases are caused by fungi that infect branches or the main stem of trees. Typical symptoms of cankers are sunken areas along a stem that may ooze resin (Photo 5). Technically, mites are not insects, but are related to spiders. Asked August 1, 2016, 2:48 PM EDT. There are a number of factors contributing to the decline we see in blue spruce trees, including environmental changes, poor site conditions and new pathogens. Over the past few years, many homeowners have been alarmed by what seems to be a sudden decline of their blue spruce trees. The rapid decline of many spruce trees Another complicating factor is that trees may be healthy for a number of years and then begin to decline as they mature and are more difficult and costly to remove. MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer, committed to achieving excellence through a diverse workforce and inclusive culture that encourages all people to reach their full potential. As “Beatlemania” was invading the rest of the country, Hub Vogelmann, professor of botany at the University of Vermont and iconic conservationist, and graduate student Thomas Siccama were doing routine plant surveys on Camel’s Hump in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Over the past decade, spruce trees have suffered an abundance of issues. The prevalence of diseases on blue spruce trees has intensified in recent years and trees are declining rapidly in many areas (Photo 1). Diplodia and Phomopsis are both considered weak or secondary pathogens, so it is unclear at this point why they appear to cause major disease problems for spruce. Colorado blue spruce is native to arid regions in the Rocky Mountains. White spruce produces good lumber, and black spruce is the source of spruce gum.White spruce usually is 18 to 21 metres (about 60 to 70 feet) tall. The eastern spruce budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana) is a major pest of spruce trees in forests throughout Canada and the eastern United States. Spruce decline. Adelgids are small insects that feed on shoots by sucking plant sap. Height usually 40' to 60', occasionally 100', with a diameter of 24"; straight trunk; long, stout branches form broad conical head. Blue spruce is very susceptible, as are black, Engelmann, red, Sitka, and white spruces. For control to be fully successful, it may take two to three years of yearly fungicide applications. Also consistently seen are Phomopsis and Cytospora, serious and deadly canker diseases on stems. Photo credits: Left and middle photo, Dennis Fulbright, MSU; right photo, Michael Kangas, NDSU, Bugwood.org. ), which turn needles red or lavender, respectively, and can leave large areas in the tree bare after needles are shed. 2. It is important to note that fungicide treatments for needlecasts only protect new growth. In fact, it is not uncommon to see healthy, thriving spruce trees near or adjacent to trees that are in severe decline. As the name implies, trees with needlecast diseases shed needles. Often times, people are more likely to see the damage as opposed to the insect pests themselves. 2. The two most common needlecasts we find in spruce are caused by the fungal pathogens Rhizosphaera and Stigmina/Mycosphaerella. Dry needles are less likely to be infected. Both are used for pulp. There are a number of factors contributing to the decline we see in blue spruce trees, including environmental changes, poor site conditions and new pathogens. Numerous insect pests can impact spruces in Michigan’s landscape, but the two most common are gall adelgids and spruce spider mites. There is not a whole lot we can do about it. Colorado blue spruce trees have long been among the most popular conifers for landscaping in Michigan and the upper Midwest. Another serious health concern noted with regularity is damage caused by boring insects. Needlecasts. In a study area in northeast Bavaria, West Germany, where forest decline was initially detected, exposure to high concentrations of gaseous pollutants, SO2, NOx, and ozone has had no long-lasting direct effect on needles, and pathogens have only been secondary agents. This distinction is important since not all insecticides will control mites. 'Skylands' should be protected from hot afternoon sun on summer's longest days or it will burn. There are, however, two plant diseases that commonly infect and disfigure them. Alternative conifers for Michigan landscapes. Proper mulching, watering and soil care are the best ways to prevent infection. Needlecast fungi often infect needles on the current year’s shoots. Right, Needle damage caused by mites. As a result, bare areas develop on the tree, reducing its ornamental value and overall health. Colorado blue spruce is native to arid regions in the Rocky Mountains. This red spruce story goes back to the 1960s. They prefer acid soils, that are coarse textured with good drainage, have adequate water and sheltered from extreme weather conditions. Other reports of dieback are on trees … Cytospora canker is a disease of mature spruce trees, usually older than 15 years. Oystershell Scale: An Unusual Insect Pest. Branches may begin to die after 3-4 years of early needle loss. Canker diseases. Similarities and differences between the two diseases exist. While not pines, spruce trees, such as Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens) and white spruce (P. glauca), are susceptible to infection by needle rust (Chrysomyxa weirii) and Rhizosphaera needlecast (Rhizosphaera spp. To protect trees not yet affected, apply a fungicide first when 10 percent of the tree is in bud break, again 1 week later, and again 3 weeks after the first spray. The symptoms of spruce decline are progressing branch dieback which starts on the inner needles and works its way out over several years. The prevalence of diseases on blue spruce trees has intensified in recent years and trees are declining rapidly in many areas (Photo 1). Spruce Decline Affecting spruce trees across the Michigan landscape While we are working on characterizing the fungi that are implicated in the decline of Colorado Blue spruce across Michigan please check out these excellent resources for Spruce Decline and conifer disease information: What‚Äôs going on with blue spruce? Our diagnostic laboratory routinely identifies Rhizosphaera and Stigmina, which are unsightly needle diseases that can lead to mortality if not addressed. Left, Needlecasts kill older (inner) needles, but leave newer needles unaffected. Chrysomyxa weirii: Destroy heavily infected trees. Middle, New shoot tips killed by Phomopsis tip blight. Spruce trees are the most problematic of all conifers in our landscape right now. Spruce trees and other conifers (including pine, arborvitae, and . Another fungal disease that causes loss of needles is Stigmina, which is often mistaken for Rhizosphaera. Each pest causes specific damage or symptoms on trees, such as yellow pin pricks on needles affected by spider mites and black fungal structures on needles killed by Rhizosphaera needle cast. AdstockRF; Major species. Although spruce decline is widespread and appears to be increasing, it is not a certainty that all trees will be affected. Black spruce (Picea mariana) and white spruce (P. glauca) are found throughout most of northern North America, from the Great Lakes to the Arctic tree line. However, a recent survey by Michigan State University researchers suggests two other fungal pathogens, Diplodia and Phomopsis, were much more commonly associated with branch death and tree decline than Cytospora (Photos 8-9). All of these diseases are caused by fungal pathogens and each produce specific symptoms that can be useful in diagnosing the problem. If you can't, give the tree an all-around treatment. Also check existing spruce trees for the disease. To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit https://extension.msu.edu/newsletters. Right, Wood staining on branch with Phomopsis canker. Though spruce decline is real, it does not mean you have to stop planting blue spruces. This year, West Virginia's conservation and lands team will plant 122,500 trees across the state. For canker diseases, the effectiveness of fungicides is usually limited. Right, Resin oozing from a branch canker caused by Cytospora. Some little bugs fell out. Photos 6-7. Videos Length: 00:07:09. • Eastern spruce galls mainly affect Norway and white spruce. Throughout the Midwest, Colorado blue spruces have been showing needle loss, dead branches, and browning foliage. Check out the Agribusiness Management B.S. Damage from gall adelgids is mainly aesthetic. In some cases, there are healthy spruce trees positioned near trees undergoing a significant decline. Tip blights are fungal diseases that typically cause dieback to new, emerging shoots (Photo 4). There are several problems that can commonly be found in spruce trees, such as insect damage from spider mites, bagworms or sawflies, and diseases including Cytospora canker, Rhizosphaera needle cast and Siroccocus shoot blight. Covering large parts of Europe, Norway spruce (Picea abies L Karst.) plays an important role in the adaptation strategy of forest services to future climate change. Left, Gall caused by Cooley spruce adelgid. For insect or mite issues, insecticides or miticides can be effective, however selection of the proper product and timing are critical. As with any tree health problem, the first step in dealing with declining spruce trees is to diagnose the problem and identify the cause. White pine weevil attacks leader shoots in Norway spruce causing them to bend like a shepherd's hook and the needles to fall off. The rapid decline of many spruce trees in the Midwest appears to be related to an increase of canker diseases coupled with other disease and insect problems that plague the species. As cankers develop, they can interfere with the branch’s ability to transport water and nutrients, resulting in the death of individual branches often referred to as “flagging.”. The rapid decline of many spruce trees in Michigan and surrounding states appears to be related to an increase of canker diseases coupled with other disease and insect problems that plague the species. Unfortunately, when most people call, the damage is so severe it is past the treatment stage, or Left, Decline symptoms moving upward. Description. Symptoms of both needle cast diseases look similar to each other. program! All species of spruce, including Colorado blue and white spruce, are being affected, but particularly concerning is the prevalence of ‘decline’ symptoms on well-established Norway spruce. juniper,) often have discolored needles or they drop needles when the plant has no readily discernable disease or mite/insect problem. Trees may produce ridges of wound tissue around older canker infections as the tree attempts to restrict the fungus’ growth. ... 2/3 of the tree is in moderate to severe decline. The work was to be part of Siccama’s doctoral research documenting plant communities and forest succession at … Spruce tree decline? Removing affected branches is usually the best action to improve the tree’s appearance and slow the spread of disease within the tree. Reference to commercial products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or bias against those not mentioned. Diagnose the problem. Rhizosphaera needlecast Blue spruce trees are widely planted due to their good growth rate, stately form and, of course, their blue foliage. The first sign of trouble is the browning of needles on the lower branches, which gradually spreads upwards. Colorado blue spruce is native to arid regions in the Rocky Mountains. If 'Skylands' gets too big for your garden, there is a select "Skylands seedling" called 'Firefly' that displays the same golden foliage, but grows more slowly and stays smaller. One is turning a lighter more yellow color and others are nice and green. Spruce trees have shallow root systems and become stressed during drought, making them vulnerable to insect damage. All species of spruce, including Colorado blue and white spruce, are being affected, but particularly concerning is the prevalence of ‘decline’ symptoms on well-established Norway spruce. Key site factors for blue spruce trees are full sunlight, good air movement and excellent soil drainage. Over the past decade, spruce trees have suffered an abundance of issues. In severe cases, the disease can kill entire trees. As there are multiple cankers on the tree, the odds of this tree thriving are not good. Trees are most likely to be infected if they are planted too closely together or if they are stressed, Yiesla said. Photo credits: Left photo, Christine McTavish, MSU; right photo, Dennis Fulbright, MSU. 1. Colorado blue spruce trees, although not native or adapted to Maryland, are commonly planted in landscapes for their attractive color and shape. Norway spruce trees can be damaged by lack of water, lack of nutrition, pests like spider mites and beetles, and over-fertilization. • Generally an aesthetic problem, especially on larger trees. Why Spruce Trees Lose Their Needles, Purdue Extension Blue Spruce Decline, Purdue Extension Diseases Common in Blue Spruce, Purdue Extension Tree Installation: Process and Practices, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center Tree Planting and Urban Forestry Videos, Subscribe to our Purdue Extension-FNR YouTube Channel This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. Norway spruce are now experiencing serious health concerns. If conditions are not ideal, the trees will begin to decline and become more susceptible to pests. The key symptom of spruce decline is branch dieback, which progresses over two to four years and renders the plant’s appearance unacceptable for most homeowners (Photo 2). The 4-H Name and Emblem have special protections from Congress, protected by code 18 USC 707. The likelihood of having success can be improved by planting blue spruce trees on sites with conditions they favor. Another key characteristic of needl… Two of the main host plants are black spruce and white spruce. To identify the fungus look closely at the infected needles. The bottom line is not all spruce trees will be impacted. Gall adelgids. Spruce spider mites cause needle discoloration and eventually kill needles, which can be mistaken for a needlecast disease (Photo 7). There are a number of factors contributing to the decline we see in blue spruce trees, including environmental changes, poor site conditions and new pathogens. If you wish to save the tree, I would advise pruning out the affected … Spruce is a common grown shelterbelt tree in Manitoba. Weather-related stresses and other biotic/abiotic factors involving the root collar, root system, soil nutrient, pH, compaction, and drainage need to be evaluated to help keep spruce trees healthy. This fungal disease causes premature death and … Spruce decline is pretty much what it sounds like – the lower branches on the tree start turning brown and dying. Picea orientalis 'Skylands' is another oriental spruce tree; its distinctive feature is its lovely golden foliage. There are so many factors contributing to their decline that it has become nearly impossible to tease them apart. As they do so, they cause the shoots to deform and produce galls that resemble cones (Photo 6). It is most common on trees less than 20 feet tall, and is fatal to trees less than 4 feet tall. The youngest needles at the tips of branches typically remain healthy. The spruce decline has increased in recent years and trees are dying rapidly in many areas. Symptoms of forest decline of spruce in Europe range from needle yellowing and loss to tree and stand mortality. Although dendroecology can provide valuable information on the past relationships between tree growth and climate, most previous studie … Originally a favorite due to the relatively low incidence of health issues, the Norway spruce is now experiencing serious health concerns. 3.
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