Archive for May, 2011

Is Your Spruce Tree Browning? Answers to Common Spruce Tree Problems

common spruce tree pest doesn't harm tree

Cooley Spruce Gall

Cooley Spruce Gall

My neighborhood spruce trees have been attacked by aphid-like insects, Cooley spruce gall adelgids that make the ends or the new growth of each branch brown.  Colorado State University Extension has the best description of this pest.

My neighbor has asked to remove his tree because of his mis- diagnosis of the problem.  This gall doesn’t harm the tree, it just makes it look less healthy than it could.  Even applications of pesticides are not that effective in controlling the problem.  The indicator that I find strange is that it needs a douglas fir species to complete their life cycle, since we don’t have Douglas Fir in our immediate neighborhood, I’m quite perplexed to see such an abundance of the spruce gall affecting about 30 trees.

Western Spruce Budworm Damage

Western Spruce Budworm Damage

Western Spruce Budworm

Utah State has a great description of the Western Spruce Budworm  as does the Colorado State Extention.  This is a very debilitating worm that can kill off stands of spruce, douglas fir, white fir and subalpine fir.  Its larvae feed on young developing buds, needles, shoots, and other plant parts.

Spruce Tree Fungus

Spruce Cytospora Canker

Cytospora Canker

Colorado State Extention Description is very good.  This canker  is a fungi in the species cytospora and can kill the plant.  This canker affects many different kinds of trees and the only evergreen tree that is affected is the spruce.  The other trees that are also affected include apple, ash, aspen, birch, cherry, cottonwood, elm, maple, peach and willow.

Spruce Tree Rhizosphera NeedlecastRhizosphaera Needlecast

The Rhizosphaera Needlecast symptoms of the disease are discoloration of the needles, needle drop, and eventual defoliation. Infected needles turn yellow in July and then reddish-purple in August. The needles eventually turn brown and fall off one to several branches. A severely affected tree will have many bare branches. Premature needle drop is the primary damage, causing the tree to become unsightly. However, branches that are defoliated for four or five years may die. If left uncontrolled, the disease can eventually kill the tree.  New Mexico State University has the best description.

How to distinguish between Needlecast and Cytospora

Overall, if you have browning needles on your spruce tree, they may be one of these problems.  It is best to determine which one it could be and utilize a control as soon as possible.  There are a few others possibilities that may make your spruce turn brown, although I haven’t seen much evidence around Durango Colorado.

Cheers,

David Hart

Gardenhart Landscape & Design

970-749-1555

http://www.gardenhartlandscapedesign.com

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Fire Mitigation, Landscaping and Defensible Space

Dry winter and spring can make for very fire prone conditions.  The Firewise website has a bunch of great tips.  It’s important when installing new plants and trees to be aware of how this could impact your home in a fire.  They have a form that helps you to measure how your home is currently protected against wildfire.

Is Your Home Protected from Wildfire?

durango colorado fire prevention effort

Firewise is a national non profit organization.  The national Firewise Communities program is a multi-agency effort designed to reach beyond the fire service by involving homeowners, community leaders, planners, developers, and others in the effort to protect people, property, and natural resources from the risk of wildland fire – before a fire starts.

VISION: Wildland fires can occur in areas of residential development without the occurrence of disastrous loss.

MISSION: To promote community-wide responsibility in the use of technology, policy and practices that minimize the loss of life and property to wildland fire independent of fire fighting efforts.

durango colorado landscape fire prevention ideas

What Kind of Landscaping is the Best Fire Defense?

Especially when you are installing a new landscape, make sure to plan for defensible space around your home.  This is very important in most states in the mountain west. For already existing landscapes, remove all dead material; including trees, shrubs and grasses.  The best defense is a healthy green wet landscape.

Defensible Landscaping from Gardenhart Landscape & designI have found so many good tips and information from the Firewise website.  I recommend protecting your home and community by being well educated.

Cheers,

David Hart

Gardenhart Landscape & Design

970-749-1555

http://www.gardenhartlandscapedesign.com

Facebook for more sustainable landscaping tips.

Please review us on Google Places

Leave a comment »

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