Prior to 1999, when Stigmina lautii was identified in North Carolina on blue spruce, this needle cast pathogen was only known from western Canada on black (P. mariana) and white spruce. The tree becomes unattractive and may look as though it is dying, but don’t despair. For more information, visit https://extension.msu.edu. Blue spruce in Michigan suffers from a serious needle casting disease caused by the fungus Rhizosphaera. Management may be similar for these Rhizosphaera spp and Stigmina spp; however effects of fungicides on Stigmina spp have not been thoroughly studied. Stigmina Needle Cast Signs and symptoms of stigmina needle cast. Check the label of any pesticide referenced to ensure your use is included. The presence of Stigmina makes the needles look dirtier than a Rhizosphaera infected needle. We have observed stem infection with Setomelanomma and needle infection with Stigmina on the same branch. I want to share our 2008 observations with you because this may begin to provide some insights into a new spruce problem and what we may or may not know about it. These needles had a black fruiting body replacing the white wax plugs similar to Rhizosphaera under observation with a hand lens. Needle cast diseases cause spruce trees to “cast off” their older needles and keep only the young needles at the tips of the branches. Well-timed sprays in the spring will normally suppress Rhizosphaera to non-detectable levels in the population of trees. Dennis Fulbright, Michigan State University Extension, Department of Plant Pathology - This summer we began to see more Stigmina on blue spruce than in previous years. Connect with Nature: Sign up for the “Conservation Talk” webinar series. However, by mid-summer 2008, it looked as if the trees had a needle cast disease on the lower branches. In the December 2006 issue, the North Dakota State University extension service publication Tree Talk, authors Jim Walla (forest pathologist) and Kasia Kinzer (plant pest diagnostician), NDSU Department of Plant Pathology, report that a fungus, Stigmina lautii had been discovered on spruce in North Dakota. The casting needles were year two and year three needles. Pay attention to the shapes of the Rhizosphaera and Stigmina fruiting bodies because at first they can look like each other. MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer, committed to achieving excellence through a diverse workforce and inclusive culture that encourages all people to reach their full potential. Symptoms of stigmina needle cast are almost identical to those of rhizosphaera needle cast. To contact an expert in your area, visit https://extension.msu.edu/experts, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464). Damage typically starts on the lower branches and moves up the tree affecting susceptible spruce trees … We have seen this same fungus on blue spruce needles in Michigan for the past few years, but it had not been found often and certainly was not found as abundant as either Rhizosphaera kalkhoffii, a fungal pathogen known to cause Rhizosphaera needle cast disease or Setomelanomma a fungus with an unknown role in diseases of spruce. Reference to commercial products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or bias against those not mentioned. MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer. While we do not know much about Stigmina, we now know that what controls Rhizosphaera does not control Stigmina because either the fungicide could not handle Stigmina, or the timing of the fungicide was not appropriate for Stigmina. Issued in furtherance of MSU Extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The second and third year needles were turning purple or brown, dying and dropping off the stems. The... Management of stigmina needle cast. Older needles closer to the trunk of the tree become discolored and fall off mid-summer, leaving the tree looking thin and bare. Symptoms of needle cast disease. This information is for educational purposes only. Blue spruce is very susceptible, as are black, Engelmann, red, Sitka, and white spruces. The classic symptoms of needle cast include brownish purple discoloration and eventual death of older needles, while current-year needles show no symptoms (Figure 1). Keep in mind, there is a look a-like disease called stigmina needle cast. Jeffrey W. Dwyer, Director, MSU Extension, East Lansing, MI 48824. Symptoms of both needle cast diseases look similar to each other. Under the higher magnification in the lab, the fruiting bodies were obviously not Rhizosphaera, but Stigmina. High powered magnification is required to differentiate between the two. On this blue spruce plantation in north central Michigan, Rhizosphaera needle cast had been well managed. September 19, 2008. If you have been spraying with chlorothalonil-based fungicides and not finding acceptable control of your blue spruce needle cast problems, you may not have Rhizosphaera needle cast, it might be Stigmina.
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