Blue Spruce Blight?

Asked June 28, 2017, 4:27 PM EDT

Is there a blight or disease attacking mature Colorado Blue Spruce Picea pungens 'Glauca' in our area (Central Maryland: Baltimore and Howard Counties)? My older spruce is showing dieback of lower limbs and a generally ratty appearance. I have noticed other spruces in the neighborhood showing similar symptoms. What is the causative organism and is there any treatment?

Baltimore County Maryland blue spruce cytospora canker trees rhizosphaeria needle cast

1 Response

Here is some information. Blue spruce can be susceptible to Cytospora canker and Rhizosphaeria needlecast, fungal diseases.
Blue spruce, in general, are not really well suited for our area as they are native to climates further to the north. Cytospora canker occurs on trees stressed by drought or other site conditions. There is not much you can do other than water during dry periods. Make sure mulch is no thicker than several inches and keep away from the base of the trunk. Prune dead plant material during dry weather. http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/cytospora-canker-spruce

Rhizosphaeria needle cast disease. The infection period is long - spring through midsummer. The needles are affected in the fall and needle drop occurs in the spring. Pruning out severely infected branches is the best control method on branches that show sparse growth. Spraying large trees with fungicides can be complicated - getting good coverage, timing, etc. and not recommended. For more information see the link on our website http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/evergreen-needle-cast-diseases-trees-and-shrubs
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