It’s a mouthful, no doubt, and it’s wreaking havoc on our spruce population. Prevention is important if control is desired. In addition to fungicide sprays, other control measures include spacing trees adequately to promote good air circulation, improving tree vigor through mulching and watering when needed, and not shearing trees when the foliage is wet. Fungicides labeled for Rhizosphaera needle cast include Daconil 2787, Daconil Ultrex, Terranil 90, Thalonil 4L, Thalonil 90, Manicure Flowable, and Twosome Flowable. Once infected, the lower branches of the tree turn brown, which results in needle loss. Is Kretz Lumber Company an Essential Business? Al: What does this disease do to the tree? Some branches may need to be pruned back to the trunk. Spread - Rhizosphaera over winters in infected needles on the tree and on needles that have fallen to the ground. The fungus is spread by splashing and dripping water beginning in spring and continuing into the fall. Other hosts include white, black, Engelmann, Sitka, and Serbian spruce; Austrian, mugo, Eastern white, and Japanese red and black pine, as well as Douglas-fir and Siberian fir. Blue spruce trees are susceptible to an infectious needle disease caused by the fungus Rhizosphaera. Second-year needles turn a purple or brown color and eventually fall from the tree. Symptoms of these needle cast diseases will be worse near the bottom of the tree, while the tops are typically not heavily impacted. The fight against rhizosphaera needle cast. If you have questions related to the spruce on your property, contact our Forestry Services team by This email address is being protected from spambots. Fungicide sprays are generally not effective at controlling canker diseases. Over time, the fungus encircles or girdles branches, causing death. Trees weakened by environmental stresses, such as drought, freeze injury, or high temperatures, also are more susceptible to canker diseases. Last year (2017) was a very wet year all throughout the growing season, so the problems we’re seeing are directly tied to the weather last year. or call us at 800-352-1438. They are being impacted by a fungal disease which goes by the name of Rhizosphaera needle cast. Well-timed sprays in the spring will normally suppress Rhizosphaera to non-detectable levels in the population of trees. An accurate diagnosis is important, since some diseases cannot be effectively treated and some can. Norway spruce is more resistant but we’re even seeing some of those trees being impacted. In some cases, however, infections start higher on the tree, giving the appearance of scattered dead areas. This is what she shared: Al: How can landowners identify Rhizosphaera needle cast? Linda: Rhizosphaera needle cast is a fungal needle disease that causes needles to die and drop off the tree prematurely. Policies | Complete coverage of the needles is important to protect them. Linda: Rhizosphaera needlecast does very well during wet years. Spruce ideally hold its needles for several years, but older needles infected by rhizosphaera drop off years before they normally would. I reached out to Linda Williams, Forest Health Specialist - Northeastern Wisconsin from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to get her insight into the disease. *We will never send you spam or share your info. But, some blue spruce will be much more susceptible to this needle disease throughout their lives, regardless of the weather, and may need continued treatment to maintain a full complement of foliage. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 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