Symptoms of needle cast disease. 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). While we do not know much about Stigmina, we now know that what controls Rhizosphaera does not control Stigmina because either the fungicide could not handle Stigmina, or the timing of the fungicide was not appropriate for Stigmina. The casting needles were year two and year three needles. Stigmina Needle Cast Signs and symptoms of stigmina needle cast. Pay attention to the shapes of the Rhizosphaera and Stigmina fruiting bodies because at first they can look like each other. September 19, 2008. Stigmina found associated with needle cast on blue spruce in Michigan Dennis Fulbright, Michigan State University Extension, Department of Plant Pathology - September 19, 2008 Editor’s note: This article is from the archives of the MSU Crop Advisory Team Alerts. Symptoms progress over the course of 3 years, leading to needle... Disease cycle of stigmina needle cast. Another key characteristic of needl… Management may be similar for these Rhizosphaera spp and Stigmina spp; however effects of fungicides on Stigmina spp have not been thoroughly studied. Also, the Stigmina fruiting bodies called sporodochia look like little spiders while the Rhizosphaera fruiting bodies look like smooth bowling balls. Needle cast diseases cause spruce trees to “cast off” their older needles and keep only the young needles at the tips of the branches. MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer. Well-timed sprays in the spring had suppressed Rhizopshaera to non-detectable levels in the population of trees. Current year needles were not affected. Older needles closer to the trunk of the tree become discolored and fall off mid-summer, leaving the tree looking thin and bare. In the December 2006 issue, the North Dakota State University extension service publication Tree Talk, authors Jim Walla (forest pathologist) and Kasia Kinzer (plant pest diagnostician), NDSU Department of Plant Pathology, report that a fungus, Stigmina lautii had been discovered on spruce in North Dakota. Two needle cast diseases occur in North Dakota: Rhizosphaera needle cast and Stigmina needle cast. Under the higher magnification in the lab, the fruiting bodies were obviously not Rhizosphaera, but Stigmina. Connect with Nature: Sign up for the “Conservation Talk” webinar series. Dennis Fulbright, Michigan State University Extension, Department of Plant Pathology - 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. On this blue spruce plantation in north central Michigan, Rhizosphaera needle cast had been well managed. Symptoms of both needle cast diseases look similar to each other. The... Management of stigmina needle cast. To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit https://extension.msu.edu/newsletters. Needle rust Year-old needles are cast after turning rust colored in the spring. If you have been spraying with chlorothalonil-based fungicides and not finding acceptable control of your blue spruce needle cast problems, you may not have Rhizosphaera needle cast, it might be Stigmina. However, in some plantations needle casting symptoms still occur after sprays (Photos 1 and 2). Editor’s note: This article is from the archives of the MSU Crop Advisory Team Alerts. The 4-H Name and Emblem have special protections from Congress, protected by code 18 USC 707. This information is for educational purposes only. For more information, visit https://extension.msu.edu. To contact an expert in your area, visit https://extension.msu.edu/experts, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464). The second and third year needles were turning purple or brown, dying and dropping off the stems. Reference to commercial products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or bias against those not mentioned. The article has a short history of the problem and good descriptions of spruce afflicted with problems and photos of the potential pathogen. These needles had a black fruiting body replacing the white wax plugs similar to Rhizosphaera under observation with a hand lens. While Stigmina is found on a variety of forest and landscape spruce species, blue and white spruce are most commonly infected in southern New England. This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. We have seen this same fungus on blue spruce needles in Michigan for the past few years, but it had not been found often and certainly was not found as abundant as either Rhizosphaera kalkhoffii, a fungal pathogen known to cause Rhizosphaera needle cast disease or Setomelanomma a fungus with an unknown role in diseases of spruce. Similarities and differences between the two diseases exist. High powered magnification is required to differentiate between the two. We have not seen needles infected with both Rhizosphaera and Stigmina, yet, but there is nothing that we know of that could rule that out.