If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please email us at [email protected] More probable would be a borer (break open the dead-looking end buds to see if they are hollow or contain a larvae) or possibly one of the two diseases that impact blue spruce in our county: Cytospora canker: Spruce Diseases; Rhizosphaera: Common Diseases of Blue Spruce; If this doesn't help, then bringing in a sample would be the next step. Purdue Extension: Expert Resources for COVID-19, Crop Diagnostic Training and Research Center, An equal access, equal opportunity university. Purdue Extension: Expert Resources for COVID-19 Cytospora canker is expressed through dead areas, known as cankers, which form at the base of the branches. Tree Planting and Urban Forestry Videos, Subscribe to our Purdue Extension-FNR YouTube Channel, Lindsey Purcell, Urban Forestry Specialist Before action is taken on saving the tree, it is important to find out why the needles are dropping as this will determine the necessary course of action, if any. Rhizosphaera needle cast (Rhizosphaera kalkhoffii) is a foliar disease of spruce trees. If spruce needles are turning yellow and dropping it should also be inspected for spider mites. Tree Installation: Process and Practices, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center Unfortunately, blue spruce trees are subject to a wide range of insect and disease problems that can impact their growth and aesthetic appeal. If needles are browning at the tips of the branches followed by lower branches dying, you may be dealing with a fungal disease known as cytospora canker, which is the most common unnatural cause for needle drop on Colorado blue spruce. The appearance of small black spots, premature needle loss and a thinning canopy can be signs of Rhizosphaera needle cast. Heavily infected trees may require several years of fungicide applications but should be sprayed, soil drenches are not effective. During most years, the browning and needle drop is hardly noticeable. The key is whether the tree is replacing those lost needles with new healthy growth. FNR Ask The Expert: Planning and Resources for Conservation Tree Planting, Ask an Expert: Handling Harvested Deer, Processing and Cooking Deer After Harvest, Wildlife Food Plot Establishment and Management Webinar, Wildlife Habitat Hints: Prescribed Fire Techniques – Backing Fire, ID That Tree: Winged Sumac (Fall Color Edition), Video, ID That Tree Fall Color: Sugar Maple, Video, Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment Treatment: Uneven-aged Management, Introduction to Nature of Teaching Sneak Peek Videos, An equal access, equal opportunity university. Blue Spruce Decline, Purdue Extension Needle drop naturally occurs seasonally in blue spruce. Four years ago, Ron Linger of Ohio planted 100 blue spruce trees. Rhizosphaera needle cast (Rhizosphaera kalkhoffii) is a foliar disease of spruce trees. Diseases Common in Blue Spruce, Purdue Extension Blue Spruce Update, Purdue Landscape Report Resources Extension – Porter County, people are calling to ask why their trees are losing needles or branches are turning brown. A combination of factors is likely causing the decline of blue spruce trees throughout Michigan It seems that everywhere you look you see Colorado blue spruce is showing needle loss, dead branches, browning foliage and even large trees dying across Michigan’s landscapes (Photo 1). The blue spruce tree (Picea pungens), named for its sharp-ended needles, is a coniferous evergreen member of … Environmental factors can influence this cycle as well; for example, a tree that is under stress from things like drought, soil compaction or excessive moisture will enhance needle drop. Needle cast will rarely kill a tree however if a tree is infected for 3-4 years severe needle loss can occur. It starts on the inner and lower growth and progresses upward through the tree. I can only spray so high. Some of the tree’s limbs are getting bare. For Rhizosphaera needle cast, two properly-timed applications per year for at least two consecutive years, and sometimes three years, is required for control. Protecting new growth as it emerges is very important. All of these diseases are caused by fungal pathogens and each produce specific symptoms that can be useful in diagnosing the problem. Early identification of Rhizosphaera can prevent major damage to individual trees and prevent the spread to nearby trees. Why Spruce Trees Lose Their Needles, Purdue Extension Some browning and shedding of inner needles is normal in the fall. Management • Heavy damage on small trees may require spraying with an … “There are a number of things that can make life hard for blue spruce,” Ploehn said. The first symptom appears in late summer when needles are speckled with yellow blotches. Trees that were under water during last year’s wet spring/early summer may be exhibiting stress in the form of browning/needle drop for the first time this spring. • Larvae present in late May through June. A lot of the needles had dropped off the trees. Trees planted close together in groups or close together in a tree line tend to especially be affected by this disease. It can take up to 15 months for the needles to show visible symptoms after the initial infection. Damaged needles turn brown and the tree starts to die at the top. If the inner needle browning is significant, however, a fungal disease may be the culprit. Another common spruce tree disease is rhizosphaera needle cast. If mites are present you will see small black specks moving on the paper. I have a blue spruce that is about 40 years old and maybe 30 feet tall. Rhizosphaera needle cast disease can be diagnosed by looking at the discolored needles with a magnifying glass; the fungus pushes through the … Evergreens like spruce lose precious moisture through their needles. Question: I have a blue spruce that is 40-years old and very tall. How to Care for a Diseased Blue Spruce Tree. © 2020 Purdue University | An equal access, equal opportunity university, 615 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2053. Use a magnifying glass to check the blue spruce’s needles. 1. It can take up to 15 months for the needles to show visible symptoms after the initial infection. • Top-kill or death of small trees possible. The most common cause for needle drop is simply natural causes. Blue spruce trees are widely planted due to their good growth rate, stately form and, of course, their blue foliage. They do best in soils that drain quickly. The damage I see is, needles turn brown and fall off. The needles drop the following summer or autumn, about 12-15 months after infestation. What kind of diseases affect blue spruce trees?