Pine Tree Fungus?

Asked August 25, 2017, 12:03 PM EDT

Help!!!! We have a great pine tree that has a problem on the north side...branches turning brown and losing needles. The affected branches have some black fugusy looking stuff. We talked to someone at Gertens who thought it could be Phytophora fungi or Cytospora canker. We want to do whatever we can to save the tree. Our neighbor thinks we should spray the whole tree with a fungicide. See attached photos.

Washington County Minnesota spruce diseases diseases of evergreens

1 Response

There are several problems, many of them fungal, that can affect your spruce. These problems are quite common for this kind of tree. Cytospera and rhizosphaera needle cast are two examples. Now would be a good time to closely inspect the affected needles and branches to look for symptoms. There are different needle specific symptoms to help determine the problem, and cytospera can cause whitish/bluish resin to collect at affected branches. The University of Minnesota has a reference tool that helps with determining which problem you may be observing with your tree. The website includes detailed photos to compare needle problems. See the links below. http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/trees-shrubs/spruce-tree-diseases/ And https://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/diagnose/plant/evergreen/spruce/ Next, you can send in a sample to the University for definitive diagnosis and/or consult a certified arborist. See this link to submit a sample. https://pdc.umn.edu/submit-sample It is not recommended to treat your tree with fungicide without confirming what problem your tree is experiencing. In the case of cytospera, treatment does not involve the use of fungicide, but involves pruning and reducing stress on the tree. Other fungal problems may be treated by different fungicides, depending on what is causing the problem, so diagnosis is important.