Blue spruce needle cast

Asked March 14, 2013, 12:03 PM EDT

How should I treat infected adult trees? What fungicide?

Oakland County Michigan trees and shrubs spruce

1 Response

There are several fungal issues and diseases that Colorado blue spruce trees can develop over time that will result with needle loss and dead branches, Rhizospera needle cast is just one of them. Some diseases are treatable and some are not. It is important to get a proper diagnosis on what is causing the damage before applying any chemical or fungicide.
For a proper diagnosis you may want to consider consulting with a certified arborist in your area. A certified arborist can diagnose your tree and make the necessary recommendations. To locate an arborist in your area visit the following website and in the top right corner click on - find a tree care service. From that point you can search by applying your zip code: You may also consider sending a sample to MSU Diagnostic Lab. Call 517-355-4536 for sample instructions and fees or visit their website at: Since your question referred to treatment of “needle cast” I will include information regarding Rhizosphaera needle cast. Rhizosphaera is a fungus disease that tends to infect inner needles first. The needles turn brown or purple and drop from the tree. If you have a good hand lens you can see the black fruiting bodies in the white bands of the needle. The following website provides more details and photos. I have included a brief explanation of treatment from the following link. Always follow label directions for rate, frequency and safety. …………..Early identification of the disease can prevent extensive damage to individual trees and prevent the spread to adjacent trees. A protective fungicide with the active ingredient chlorothalonil (sold as Multi- Purpose Fungicide, Daconil 2787, and others), Two-some, Spectro-90, or copper based fungicide can protect new growth and prevent new infections. The key to successfully managing this disease requires that you protect new growth as it emerges. To do so, fungicides should be applied in a timely manner at budbreak , when the new needles are half elongated, and again three to four weeks later. In most instances, infected trees usually require two or more years of fungicide applications to allow infected needles to be shed, while new needles remain uninfected. Even though fungicide application will effectively control this disease, reinfection may occur in subsequent years. Application to large trees requires special equipment to ensure adequate coverage……. Other websites with excellent information on Rhizosphaera Needle Cast: and

As I mentioned eairler there are many issues that spruce trees encounter and I am including addition al information with a brief explantion regarding them.
Links to other issues that plague Blue Spruce trees.
Cytospera Canker - This fungus disease tends to infect older spruce trees. You may begin to notice branches dying near the base of the tree first and eventually see it progress upward. You may also see a white resin on the trunk or branches. The white resin on the branches will resemble bird droppings. The following website will give you details on this condition and with pictures that will help you determine if your Spruce is dealing with this condition. Phomopsis - The initial symptoms are very subtle, just a slight discoloration of the needles. Eventually needles may turn brown or purple and drop. In the spring new shoots will expand and then rapidly wilt and die. Fungicides are available.More information and photos can be found at this website. Stigmina - Very little is known about Stigmina. The symptoms are similar and the fruiting bodies could be confused for those of Rhizosphaera. Unfortunately the controls for Rhizosphaera do not appear to be effective for Stigmina. The following website gives some information on Stigmina. Setomelanomma - Very little is known about this pathogen. Needles on infected branches will turn yellow, then brown and will drop by the end of summer. Only the needles on the tips of the branches will remain. At this time there is no known control strategy. I realize this is a lot of information but proper diagnosis is a key to successfully treating your spruce and maintaining its health. I hope this information helps you out in making the right decision and if you have any further questions please don't hesitate to ask.