Spruce decline. This is a difficult question. Not sure if spider mites or not. As with any tree health problem, the first step in dealing with declining spruce trees is to diagnose the problem and identify the cause. Asked August 1, 2016, 2:48 PM EDT. Norway spruce trees can be damaged by lack of water, lack of nutrition, pests like spider mites and beetles, and over-fertilization. There are, however, two plant diseases that commonly infect and disfigure them. Tip blights are most common on pines, especially Austrian pines, but can also occur on spruces. Colorado blue spruce trees have long been among the most popular conifers for landscaping in Michigan and the upper Midwest. The work was to be part of Siccama’s doctoral research documenting plant communities and forest succession at … Photos 8-9. Both diseases also can occur simultaneously and progressively speed up the decline of this popular tree. 1. ), which turn needles red or lavender, respectively, and can leave large areas in the tree bare after needles are shed. Colorado blue spruce trees, although not native or adapted to Maryland, are commonly planted in landscapes for their attractive color and shape. Similarities and differences between the two diseases exist. The prevalence of diseases on blue spruce trees has intensified in recent years and trees are declining rapidly in many areas (Photo 1). You might’ve noticed there’s something strange going on with the spruce trees in your neighborhood. Spruce trees are the most problematic of all conifers in our landscape right now. plays an important role in the adaptation strategy of forest services to future climate change. Photo credits: Jill O’Donnell, MSU. Typical symptoms of cankers are sunken areas along a stem that may ooze resin (Photo 5). For canker diseases, the effectiveness of fungicides is usually limited. Diagnose the problem. 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 … Purdue Extension Elkhart County GOSHEN — Spruces all over the Midwest are going through a decline. Technically, mites are not insects, but are related to spiders. Needlecast fungi often infect needles on the current year’s shoots. 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. Spruce spider mites cause needle discoloration and eventually kill needles, which can be mistaken for a needlecast disease (Photo 7). • Current needles near galls may be green; needles are dead and discolored on older shoots with galls. 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.”. Colorado blue spruce is native to arid regions in the Rocky Mountains. Proper mulching, watering and soil care are the best ways to prevent infection. They prefer acid soils, that are coarse textured with good drainage, have adequate water and sheltered from extreme weather conditions. 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. Photos 3-5. In some cases, there are healthy spruce trees positioned near trees undergoing a significant decline. Both diseases also can occur simultaneously and progressively speed up the decline of this popular tree. Left, Decline symptoms moving upward. Spruce trees are not able to form new needles where the old ones dropped. I have 3 spruce trees in landscape near each other. 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. The prevalence of diseases on blue spruce trees has intensified in recent years and trees are declining rapidly in many areas (Photo 1). Michigan’s climate is generally more humid, especially in the summer, which is ideal for fungal pathogens to thrive. Alternative conifers for Michigan landscapes. program! For large or important landscape trees, homeowners should contact a professional arborist or tree care company. It is most common on trees less than 20 feet tall, and is fatal to trees less than 4 feet tall. Over the past decade, spruce trees have suffered an abundance of issues. The leading company in tree care service since 1907. Unfortunately, blue spruce trees are subject to a wide range of insect and disease problems that can impact their growth and aesthetic appeal. Photo credits: Left and middle photo, Dennis Fulbright, MSU; right photo, Michael Kangas, NDSU, Bugwood.org. 1. In both cases, the insect pests are tiny and you may need a hand lens to see them. • Cooley spruce galls are mainly on Colorado blue spruce and white spruce. Find them at the tips of new growth. To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit https://extension.msu.edu/newsletters. Tip blights. Dry needles are less likely to be infected. June 28, 2019. Colorado blue spruce is native to arid regions in the Rocky Mountains. Although spruce decline is widespread and appears to be increasing, it is not a certainty that all trees will be affected. Reference to commercial products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or bias against those not mentioned. 2. In landscapes, Colorado blue spruces have been planted on some sites that are marginal for their success. Environmental factors such as drought stress, elevated summer temperatures, and wetter growing seasons have played a significant role in twig dieback and needle defoliation. White pine weevil attacks leader shoots in Norway spruce causing them to bend like a shepherd's hook and the needles to fall off. 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). Bert Cregg, Christine McTavish, Andrew Jarosz, Jill O'Donnell, and Dennis Fulbright Michigan State University - There is not a whole lot we can do about it. Branches may begin to die after 3-4 years of early needle loss. Trees may produce ridges of wound tissue around older canker infections as the tree attempts to restrict the fungus’ growth. The likelihood of having success can be improved by planting blue spruce trees on sites with conditions they favor. Kimberly Bohn, Ph.D. Former Extension Educator, Forestry and … Canker diseases. Colorado blue spruce is native to arid regions in the Rocky Mountains. Videos Length: 00:07:09. Also check existing spruce trees for the disease. 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. Cytospora canker is a disease of mature spruce trees, usually older than 15 years. Right, Needle damage caused by mites. 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. There are, however, two plant diseases that commonly infect and disfigure them. In recent years, most all spruce varieties have been having difficulty fighting off the fungal disease Rhizosphaera needle cast. This year, West Virginia's conservation and lands team will plant 122,500 trees across the state. To identify the fungus look closely at the infected needles. • Generally an aesthetic problem, especially on larger trees. 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. For control to be fully successful, it may take two to three years of yearly fungicide applications. Two needle cast diseases occur in North Dakota: Rhizosphaera needle cast and Stigmina needle cast. This red spruce story goes back to the 1960s. This fungal disease causes premature death and … 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. In fact, it is not uncommon to see healthy, thriving spruce trees near or adjacent to trees that are in severe decline. Norway spruce are now experiencing serious health concerns. Frequently asked questions about spruce decline. The spruce decline has increased in recent years and trees are dying rapidly in many areas. 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. Another fungal disease that causes loss of needles is Stigmina, which is often mistaken for Rhizosphaera. Asked June 20, 2020, 7:56 AM EDT. Instructors. For some disease issues, such as needlecasts, fungicides may be effective in preventing or controlling the disease. For more information, visit https://extension.msu.edu. Gall adelgids. Finally, for decades the default diagnosis for most problems with blue spruce has been Rhizosphaera needlecast or Cytospora branch canker. All of these diseases are caused by fungal pathogens and each produce specific symptoms that can be useful in diagnosing the problem. Dwarf varieties and properly spaced larger spruce varieties will have better air penetration and needles will dry more quickly. Often times, people are more likely to see the damage as opposed to the insect pests themselves. It’s called spruce decline and it’s mostly affecting Colorado blue spruce.. Description. 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. Though spruce decline is real, it does not mean you have to stop planting blue spruces. Numerous insect pests can impact spruces in Michigan’s landscape, but the two most common are gall adelgids and spruce spider mites. Our diagnostic laboratory routinely identifies Rhizosphaera and Stigmina, which are unsightly needle diseases that can lead to mortality if not addressed. One is turning a lighter more yellow color and others are nice and green. Rhizosphaera needlecast Also consistently seen are Phomopsis and Cytospora, serious and deadly canker diseases on stems. Issued in furtherance of MSU Extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Also, in many cases there may be more than one issue that is affecting your tree’s health. View bios on each of our bloggers, or click on a name to go to that blogger’s profile page. AdstockRF; Major species. 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. Learn how to identify types of spruce trees, symptoms of two common fungal diseases, and what if any treatments are available. In severe cases, the disease can kill entire trees. Left, Needlecasts kill older (inner) needles, but leave newer needles unaffected. Some little bugs fell out. Another key characteristic of needl… Middle, New shoot tips killed by Phomopsis tip blight. This information is for educational purposes only. Being a leader in the tree care industry means continually focusing on learning and innovation. Tip blights are fungal diseases that typically cause dieback to new, emerging shoots (Photo 4). MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer. Some of these conifer dieback symptoms appear in well-established trees. 3. If conditions are not ideal, the trees will begin to decline and become more susceptible to pests. Photos 6-7. Other reports of dieback are on trees … The 4-H Name and Emblem have special protections from Congress, protected by code 18 USC 707. Overview. If you can't, give the tree an all-around treatment. The youngest needles at the tips of branches typically remain healthy. 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. 'Skylands' should be protected from hot afternoon sun on summer's longest days or it will burn. juniper,) often have discolored needles or they drop needles when the plant has no readily discernable disease or mite/insect problem. Symptoms of both needle cast diseases look similar to each other. 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.