Cytospora Cankers Killing Spruce Trees
Have your spruce trees seen better days? It may be because they are now infested with the fungus disease cytospora canker. The first sign of cytospora canker infection occurs in the lower branches of spruce trees, where it will turn the needles brown and ultimately kill the branches. Once infected, the disease can quickly spread upward throughout the tree.
Although it primarily impacts Norway Spruce trees in our area, cytospora canker disease can also be found on fir, hemlocks, and white pines, although these cases aren't very abundant. Spruce trees that are at least 15 years old and have been exposed to previous damage are most susceptible to this disease.
Cytospora canker disease can take many years to develop, and it is even capable of surviving the winter on trees and in the fallen needles. It can spread quickly through rainfall - as the rain splashes, the fungus is spread up the tree and onto other trees. This is why the infection usually begins on the low branches and works its way up the tree.
Managing Cytospora Canker
Cytospora canker is a tough disease to manage. Since the fungus can overwinter in fallen needles, and then spread rapidly with spring rainfall, the disease poses a big problem to home owners and property managers. In order to control the disease on already infected trees, extensive pruning measures are needed, especially since the fungus will spread into open wounds and potentially kill the entire tree. Also, the fungus is easily spread through pruning equipment, making special care of equipment a priority.
If you notice browning of needles and dead branches in your spruce, pine, hemlock, or fir trees it could potentially be cytospora canker. We recommend having a Certified Arborist out to inspect the infected tree as soon as possible. For more information contact an Arborist, or call 877-308-8733.