The prevalence of diseases on blue spruce trees has intensified in recent years and trees are declining rapidly in many areas (Photo 1). Norway spruce are now experiencing serious health concerns. Although dendroecology can provide valuable information on the past relationships between tree growth and climate, most previous studie … Not sure if spider mites or not. 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. The spruce decline has increased in recent years and trees are dying rapidly in many areas. 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. If you can pin down a specific reason for the tree's decline, treat that reason directly. Over the past decade, spruce trees have suffered an abundance of issues. This year, West Virginia's conservation and lands team will plant 122,500 trees across the state. Kimberly Bohn, Ph.D. Former Extension Educator, Forestry and … Typical symptoms of cankers are sunken areas along a stem that may ooze resin (Photo 5). Colorado blue spruce trees, although not native or adapted to Maryland, are commonly planted in landscapes for their attractive color and shape. Trees may produce ridges of wound tissue around older canker infections as the tree attempts to restrict the fungus’ growth. Spruce decline is pretty much what it sounds like – the lower branches on the tree start turning brown and dying. Needlecast fungi often infect needles on the current year’s shoots. Proper mulching, watering and soil care are the best ways to prevent infection. 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. In severe cases, the disease can kill entire 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). 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. In both cases, the insect pests are tiny and you may need a hand lens to see them. Michigan’s climate is generally more humid, especially in the summer, which is ideal for fungal pathogens to thrive. 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. Spruce trees are not able to form new needles where the old ones dropped. The bottom line is not all spruce trees will be impacted. Unfortunately, blue spruce trees are subject to a wide range of insect and disease problems that can impact their growth and aesthetic appeal. Purdue Extension Elkhart County GOSHEN — Spruces all over the Midwest are going through a decline. 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. 1. 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. Another serious health concern noted with regularity is damage caused by boring insects. 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. Learn how to identify types of spruce trees, symptoms of two common fungal diseases, and what if any treatments are available. Other reports of dieback are on trees … It is important to note that fungicide treatments for needlecasts only protect new growth. Right, Needle damage caused by mites. In fact, it is not uncommon to see healthy, thriving spruce trees near or adjacent to trees that are in severe decline. Spruce decline. Spruce trees are the most problematic of all conifers in our landscape right now. 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). Asked June 20, 2020, 7:56 AM EDT. Removing affected branches is usually the best action to improve the tree’s appearance and slow the spread of disease within the tree. Overview. This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. 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. Being a leader in the tree care industry means continually focusing on learning and innovation. Spruce spider mites cause needle discoloration and eventually kill needles, which can be mistaken for a needlecast disease (Photo 7). Both are used for pulp. Check out the Agribusiness Management B.S. For large or important landscape trees, homeowners should contact a professional arborist or tree care company. 'Skylands' should be protected from hot afternoon sun on summer's longest days or it will burn. Damage from gall adelgids is mainly aesthetic. For control to be fully successful, it may take two to three years of yearly fungicide applications. Similarities and differences between the two diseases exist. Adelgids are small insects that feed on shoots by sucking plant sap. The work was to be part of Siccama’s doctoral research documenting plant communities and forest succession at … Also, in many cases there may be more than one issue that is affecting your tree’s health. As the name implies, trees with needlecast diseases shed needles. There is not a whole lot we can do about it. Bartlett’s Tree Topics blog follows in that tradition by offering a place to receive advice on trees, tree pests, tree preservation, and more. Another key characteristic of needl… Remove and destroy any diseased branches and needles by burning (where allowed), burying or hot composting. Some of these conifer dieback symptoms appear in well-established trees. 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. Needlecasts. June 28, 2019. 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. • Generally an aesthetic problem, especially on larger trees. Spruce trees have shallow root systems and become stressed during drought, making them vulnerable to insect damage. Colorado blue spruce trees have long been among the most popular conifers for landscaping in Michigan and the upper Midwest. 1. As with any tree health problem, the first step in dealing with declining spruce trees is to diagnose the problem and identify the cause. The likelihood of having success can be improved by planting blue spruce trees on sites with conditions they favor. 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? While beautiful in shape, color and texture, spruces are not native to our region, and that plays a role in their demise. Reference to commercial products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or bias against those not mentioned. 2. This information is for educational purposes only. Blue spruce trees are widely planted due to their good growth rate, stately form and, of course, their blue foliage. One is turning a lighter more yellow color and others are nice and green. Cytospora canker is a disease of mature spruce trees, usually older than 15 years. Originally a favorite due to the relatively low incidence of health issues, the Norway spruce is now experiencing serious health concerns. 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). 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 symptoms of spruce decline are progressing branch dieback which starts on the inner needles and works its way out over several years. There are, however, two plant diseases that commonly infect and disfigure them. Oystershell Scale: An Unusual Insect Pest. The first sign of trouble is the browning of needles on the lower branches, which gradually spreads upwards. Trees are most likely to be infected if they are planted too closely together or if they are stressed, Yiesla said. Environmental factors such as drought stress, elevated summer temperatures, and wetter growing seasons have played a significant role in twig dieback and needle defoliation. Save For Later. Find them at the tips of new growth. If you wish to save the tree, I would advise pruning out the affected … This red spruce story goes back to the 1960s. For insect or mite issues, insecticides or miticides can be effective, however selection of the proper product and timing are critical. Tip blights are fungal diseases that typically cause dieback to new, emerging shoots (Photo 4). You might’ve noticed there’s something strange going on with the spruce trees in your neighborhood. • Eastern spruce galls mainly affect Norway and white spruce. Colorado blue spruce is native to arid regions in the Rocky Mountains. Diagnose the problem. 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