pine shrub browning

Asked August 20, 2018, 9:14 AM EDT

A recently (June) planted small, 12 inch, pine shrub (Spruce?) has an area on one side where needles turn brown and die off. Have pruned out bad areas but keeps coming back. Picture attached. Do you have treatment advice? Thx.

Ingham County Michigan

4 Responses

In the picture, there appears to be a black spot with sap coming oozing out near the branch division. I can't quite make out exactly what that is or if that could be the cause. If possible, please take a closer picture of that area and send it along. You can send it along by replying to this thread, or by using my email address:
The rest of the shrub looks ok to me, would you agree? Do you see any signs of webbing, or other insects? Is this the only area that is turning brown?
Thank you,

Thanks for your response. The brown is confined to this one "branch". The rest of the shrub is green and healthy. I'm attaching a couple more close ups. At the branch junction below the browned part there is a "deposit" that is a greenish grey color. The parts below that junction are still green. I see no webs or the like. This is a miniature shrub. Mature size 24" or so. Size now about 10" high.

Thank you for the additional pictures. What first comes to mind is a "canker" or fungal infection of the branch.
Please read through this and let me know if you think this is what is effecting your shrub. Please consider taking a look under the bark as the article suggests to see if the area has grey/black discoloration as this is a diagnostic feature of the fungal pathogen.
If this is not what you are seeing, feel free to respond with pictures or a description of what you saw under the bark. Or with any other questions you might have.
Thank you!

Thanks again. I checked under bark as you suggested. Picture attached. I see no blackish/discolored area. However, there do appear to be the small black fruiting bodies that are mentioned in the PSU article. I think you have hit on cause, i.e. some sort of fungal infection. Does not seem to be any treatment other than pruning away affected areas. I think we'll pull it (it was planted earlier this summer) and return it to the nursery for replacement and start over. Thanks for all your help. Kudos to you and the extension service.