Such controls are preventive and applied when new needles are half elongated and again when they reach full length. Stigmina makes the needles look dirtier than Rhizosphaera infected needles. Illinois Commercial Landscape and Turfgrass Pest Management Handbook, U of IL - Distance Diagnosis through Digital Imaging, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Because this fungus requires twelve to eighteen months for symptom expression, at least two years of fungicide sprays are usually required. One important way to reduce tree stress is by mulching and watering when needed. If you have seen trees affected by needle cast disease in the area, avoid planting this highly susceptible tree. Needles infected with Rhizosphaera needle cast turn a purplish-brown and will eventually fall from the tree. If infected trees are present, do not plant healthy susceptible species next to them. Trees stressed from drought, poor planting practices or other factors are more likely to suffer from Rhizosphaera needle cast. Get positive identification of the disease. This disease mostly occurs on spruces that are not being grown in their native habitat.Colorado blue spruce is the most susceptible spruce to this disease. This genus also infects several conifer species including; fir, cedar, spruce, and pine Rhizosphaera needle cast is a fungal disease of spruce trees that causes needles to turn brown and fall off. Join Virginia Tech Plant Pathologist, Mary Ann Hansen, as she discusses common plant diseases in Virginia. Repeated needle loss can result in branch death after 3 to 4 years and eventually tree death. This article was originally published on May 9, 2007. The information contained within may not be the most current and accurate depending on when it is accessed. This tree disease generally starts at the bottom of the tree and progresses upward. This disease is caused by the fungus Rhizosphaera kalkhoffii and is most common on Blue spruce; however, Black Hills spruce is also susceptible. Symptoms associated with Rhizosphaera needle cast can occur on any age of tree and usually progress from lower to upper branches typically on trees that are stressed. The Home, Yard & Garden Pest Guide (C1391) provides is written for homeowners and other residents and provides nonchemical and current chemical recommendations for controlling pests associated with trees, shrubs, turf, flowers, groundcovers, vegetables, fruit, and houses. Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Horticulture and Home Pest News, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. To reduce the risk of reinfection of older trees, continuted treatments may be required. A free plant, weed, insect and disease identification service available through your local University of Illinois Extension office. Several samples have come into the Plant Disease Clinic lately, showing symptoms and signs typical of Rhizosphaera needle cast. Any size tree may be attacked; however, trees over 20 years of age are more likely to be infected. When Should I Spray Conifers for Needle Diseases. Finally, do not trim tree branches during wet conditions because this encourages fungal spread. During the late winter and early spring, the needles turn brown (purplish brown on Colorado spruces) and fall off during the summer and fall. Provide good air circulation. Ames, IA 50011-2031 Instead, consider planting Norway spruce, which is resistant. 3.5 (1 = very little damage 5 = plants killed) Hosts. Several methods are recommended to help prevent infection. Come into the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic they may look similar if you have seen trees affected by cast! 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