Spring Fever! Evergreen Edition
Written by: BY: RJ Busch; Certified Arborist WI-0985
The sun is shining, and the snow has melted. It’s the perfect time to get outside, walk the yard and begin to analyze your property. Before your trees begin to start growing again, you’ll typically notice your evergreens are either looking very dense or quite thin. Two things may be happening here: 1. as your evergreens grow and begin to mature, they could be competing for space and light; or, 2. they may be suffering from a very common disease called ‘needle cast’. There are several different species of needle cast fungi that can infect spruce, fir, or pine trees.
With our environment constantly changing over the past several years, there has been a spike in fungal disease, resulting in increased needle loss on evergreens. It’s hard not to notice a mature Colorado Spruce with severe needle loss on almost every block these days. Needle cast thrives in wet, cool, spring weather, which our region has been experiencing for prolonged periods over these past few years. Typically, the disease starts at the bottom of the tree where it is damp and much cooler. It is extremely important to catch the needle cast fungi early before it thins out the lower and middle canopy. On average, this disease can be present for up to five years before it’s noticed by the homeowner. By this point it is possible for the tree to be much thinner and could take years to recover.
Luckily, we have a solution for your evergreen tree to suppress this unwanted disease. Here at Wachtel Tree Science, our primary treatment for needle cast disease is a fungicide spray, which is applied in spring and throughout the summer. Depending on the tree and severity of the damage, it may take several seasons of consecutive treatments to see improvement. One of the reason’s it’s important to catch this disease early is because treatment primarily protects the newest growth on the tree. Needles that have already been infected will still fall off early, even after the fungicide treatments have started. However, after several years of treatments the evergreen tree will start to have many new layers of growth, increasing the amount of needles on your evergreens for improved screening ability and beauty that you imagined for your yard!
Please consult with your Wachtel Tree Science Certified Arborist if you have one or more important evergreen trees on your property. We can assess the health of all your trees and come up with a plan to ensure they stay healthy and beautiful for a long time. Give us a call today!