Numerous insect pests can impact spruces in Michigan’s landscape, but the two most common are gall adelgids and spruce spider mites. Description. Rhizosphaera needlecast Middle, New shoot tips killed by Phomopsis tip blight. Technically, mites are not insects, but are related to spiders. Reference to commercial products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or bias against those not mentioned. Not sure if spider mites or not. In severe cases, the disease can kill entire trees. Colorado blue spruce is native to arid regions in the Rocky Mountains. 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. Colorado blue spruce is native to arid regions in the Rocky Mountains. • Eastern spruce galls mainly affect Norway and white spruce. You might’ve noticed there’s something strange going on with the spruce trees in your neighborhood. Damage from gall adelgids is mainly aesthetic. Symptoms of forest decline of spruce in Europe range from needle yellowing and loss to tree and stand mortality. This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. The first sign of trouble is the browning of needles on the lower branches, which gradually spreads upwards. To contact an expert in your area, visit https://extension.msu.edu/experts, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464). • Cooley spruce galls are mainly on Colorado blue spruce and white spruce. Overview. Needlecasts. Some of these conifer dieback symptoms appear in well-established trees. This red spruce story goes back to the 1960s. 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. Often times, people are more likely to see the damage as opposed to the insect pests themselves. Learn how to identify types of spruce trees, symptoms of two common fungal diseases, and what if any treatments are available. Colorado blue spruce trees, although not native or adapted to Maryland, are commonly planted in landscapes for their attractive color and shape. Some little bugs fell out. Throughout the Midwest, Colorado blue spruces have been showing needle loss, dead branches, and browning foliage. Bert Cregg, Christine McTavish, Andrew Jarosz, Jill O'Donnell, and Dennis Fulbright Michigan State University - 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. The eastern spruce budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana) is a major pest of spruce trees in forests throughout Canada and the eastern United States. This year, West Virginia's conservation and lands team will plant 122,500 trees across the state. 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. 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. I have 3 spruce trees in landscape near each other. Photos 6-7. Two needle cast diseases occur in North Dakota: Rhizosphaera needle cast and Stigmina needle cast. Needlecast fungi often infect needles on the current year’s shoots. It is important to note that fungicide treatments for needlecasts only protect new growth. 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? Spruce decline. Spruce decline is pretty much what it sounds like – the lower branches on the tree start turning brown and dying. If you wish to save the tree, I would advise pruning out the affected … This fungal disease causes premature death and … 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't, give the tree an all-around treatment. View bios on each of our bloggers, or click on a name to go to that blogger’s profile page. Spruce spider mites cause needle discoloration and eventually kill needles, which can be mistaken for a needlecast disease (Photo 7). There are so many factors contributing to their decline that it has become nearly impossible to tease them apart. The prevalence of diseases on blue spruce trees has intensified in recent years and trees are declining rapidly in many areas (Photo 1). 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 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 a number of factors contributing to the decline we see in blue spruce trees, including environmental changes, poor site conditions and new pathogens. Covering large parts of Europe, Norway spruce (Picea abies L Karst.) Videos Length: 00:07:09. 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.”. Chrysomyxa weirii: Destroy heavily infected trees. Frequently asked questions about spruce decline. As a result, bare areas develop on the tree, reducing its ornamental value and overall health. As the name implies, trees with needlecast diseases shed needles. Left, Gall caused by Cooley spruce adelgid. Photo credits: Left photo, Christine McTavish, MSU; right photo, Dennis Fulbright, MSU. The work was to be part of Siccama’s doctoral research documenting plant communities and forest succession at … Canker diseases. program! Spruce trees and other conifers (including pine, arborvitae, and . Right, Resin oozing from a branch canker caused by Cytospora. Symptoms of both needle cast diseases look similar to each other. Correct identification, often with microscopic observation, is important to identify the issue correctly. Tip blights are most common on pines, especially Austrian pines, but can also occur on spruces. 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. Asked June 20, 2020, 7:56 AM EDT. Finally, for decades the default diagnosis for most problems with blue spruce has been Rhizosphaera needlecast or Cytospora branch canker. Originally a favorite due to the relatively low incidence of health issues, the Norway spruce is now experiencing serious health concerns. 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. Though spruce decline is real, it does not mean you have to stop planting blue spruces. In landscapes, Colorado blue spruces have been planted on some sites that are marginal for their success. Dwarf varieties and properly spaced larger spruce varieties will have better air penetration and needles will dry more quickly. Norway spruce trees can be damaged by lack of water, lack of nutrition, pests like spider mites and beetles, and over-fertilization. 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. Gall adelgids. Tip blights. Another fungal disease that causes loss of needles is Stigmina, which is often mistaken for Rhizosphaera. In both cases, the insect pests are tiny and you may need a hand lens to see them. 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 Adelgids are small insects that feed on shoots by sucking plant sap. Environmental factors such as drought stress, elevated summer temperatures, and wetter growing seasons have played a significant role in twig dieback and needle defoliation. If conditions are not ideal, the trees will begin to decline and become more susceptible to pests. • Generally an aesthetic problem, especially on larger trees. For insect or mite issues, insecticides or miticides can be effective, however selection of the proper product and timing are critical. They prefer acid soils, that are coarse textured with good drainage, have adequate water and sheltered from extreme weather conditions. If you can pin down a specific reason for the tree's decline, treat that reason directly. This is a difficult question. It’s called spruce decline and it’s mostly affecting Colorado blue spruce.. 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. Dry needles are less likely to be infected. Canker diseases are most commonly found on trees under stress so landscape trees should be monitored closely. 1. The prevalence of diseases on blue spruce trees has intensified in recent years and trees are declining rapidly in many areas (Photo 1). As the disease progresses, the needles die, usually the year following the infection. Photo credits: Left and middle photo, Dennis Fulbright, MSU; right photo, Michael Kangas, NDSU, Bugwood.org. This distinction is important since not all insecticides will control mites. The youngest needles at the tips of branches typically remain healthy. Although dendroecology can provide valuable information on the past relationships between tree growth and climate, most previous studie … 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. Another key characteristic of needl… 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). Spruce trees are not able to form new needles where the old ones dropped. Trees are most likely to be infected if they are planted too closely together or if they are stressed, Yiesla said. 3. Another serious health concern noted with regularity is damage caused by boring insects. It is most common on trees less than 20 feet tall, and is fatal to trees less than 4 feet tall. For more information, visit https://extension.msu.edu. Spruce trees are the most problematic of all conifers in our landscape right now. In recent years, most all spruce varieties have been having difficulty fighting off the fungal disease Rhizosphaera needle cast. Photo credits: Jill O’Donnell, MSU. June 28, 2019. In fact, it is not uncommon to see healthy, thriving spruce trees near or adjacent to trees that are in severe decline. Proper mulching, watering and soil care are the best ways to prevent infection. Instructors. MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer. Spruce tree decline? To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit https://extension.msu.edu/newsletters. Issued in furtherance of MSU Extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The leading company in tree care service since 1907. Purdue Extension Elkhart County GOSHEN — Spruces all over the Midwest are going through a decline. Other reports of dieback are on trees … 'Skylands' should be protected from hot afternoon sun on summer's longest days or it will burn. Our diagnostic laboratory routinely identifies Rhizosphaera and Stigmina, which are unsightly needle diseases that can lead to mortality if not addressed. Save For Later. The bottom line is not all spruce trees will be impacted. To identify the fungus look closely at the infected needles. Blue spruce trees are widely planted due to their good growth rate, stately form and, of course, their blue foliage. As a result, they are stressed and more susceptible to fungal pathogens. 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. ... 2/3 of the tree is in moderate to severe decline. Photos 3-5. For canker diseases, the effectiveness of fungicides is usually limited. Both diseases also can occur simultaneously and progressively speed up the decline of this popular tree. Over the past few years, many homeowners have been alarmed by what seems to be a sudden decline of their blue spruce trees. Over the past decade, spruce trees have suffered an abundance of issues. Picea orientalis 'Skylands' is another oriental spruce tree; its distinctive feature is its lovely golden foliage. 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. 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. 2. 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). There are, however, two plant diseases that commonly infect and disfigure them. The 4-H Name and Emblem have special protections from Congress, protected by code 18 USC 707. 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). Diagnose the problem. ), which turn needles red or lavender, respectively, and can leave large areas in the tree bare after needles are shed. Photos 8-9. Unfortunately, when most people call, the damage is so severe it is past the treatment stage, or Population levels oscillate, sometimes reaching extreme outbreak levels that can cause extreme defoliation of and damage to spruce trees. Left, Needlecasts kill older (inner) needles, but leave newer needles unaffected. Kimberly Bohn, Ph.D. Former Extension Educator, Forestry and … There are, however, two plant diseases that commonly infect and disfigure them. Spruce spider mites. As they do so, they cause the shoots to deform and produce galls that resemble cones (Photo 6). 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. 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. Colorado blue spruce is native to arid regions in the Rocky Mountains. 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). Colorado blue spruce trees, although not native or adapted to Maryland, are commonly planted in landscapes for their attractive color and shape. Both diseases also can occur simultaneously and progressively speed up the decline of this popular tree. As with any tree health problem, the first step in dealing with declining spruce trees is to diagnose the problem and identify the cause. Left, Decline symptoms moving upward. Oystershell Scale: An Unusual Insect Pest. Right, Needle damage caused by mites. Also check existing spruce trees for the disease. Over the past decade, spruce trees have suffered an abundance of issues. Cytospora canker is a disease of mature spruce trees, usually older than 15 years. Blue spruce is very susceptible, as are black, Engelmann, red, Sitka, and white spruces. The symptoms of spruce decline are progressing branch dieback which starts on the inner needles and works its way out over several years. Find them at the tips of new growth. There are three principle types of diseases that affect blue spruce trees: needlecasts, tip blights and canker diseases. One is turning a lighter more yellow color and others are nice and green. Also consistently seen are Phomopsis and Cytospora, serious and deadly canker diseases on stems. For some disease issues, such as needlecasts, fungicides may be effective in preventing or controlling the disease. Typical symptoms of cankers are sunken areas along a stem that may ooze resin (Photo 5). Right, Wood staining on branch with Phomopsis canker. Michigan’s climate is generally more humid, especially in the summer, which is ideal for fungal pathogens to thrive. Check out the Agribusiness Management B.S. 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