Conifer (tip) fungus?

Asked October 6, 2019, 8:10 AM EDT

This is the 5th tree to die in the last year. Is it fungal? and if yes, can you recommend a fungicide?

District of Columbia County District of Columbia shrubs abiotic issues

1 Response

Hi - This looks like a case of poor establishment after planting or an abiotic (non-pathogenic) issue. It does not look like a disease or pest problem. Overall decline of a plant like this can occur with poor plant material that was root-bound in the original container and/or if the roots were not spread out in the planting hole. If the roots do not establish well into the native soil, the plant will not be able to take up the water and nutrients it needs to support good growth. We also had record-high rainfall last year that was tough on a lot of plants. In saturated soil for extended periods of time, root decay can occur -- again impairing water/nutrient uptake. And then we had a drought this year, increasing plants' demands for water. Also, insufficient irrigation during the first 12-18 after planting can lead to problems with poor establishment.

All that said, the plants that are mostly brown should be removed and replaced. There is nothing you can do at this point to make them recover.
Take a look at our website for information on trees and shrubs and recommendations for selecting, preparing the soil, planting technique, etc. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/trees-shrubs

Christa