Do not plant spruce trees where Lirula already occurs. Infected needles die … In the following year, a raised black line forms along the midrib of infected needles. When the spores are mature, a crack in the needle opens along this line. Spores are released from these structures on third-year needles. Unlike other needlecasts we find on spruce, the brown needles killed by Lirula can remain attached for several years. Lirula needle blight can infect white spruce (Picea glauca), including Black Hills spruce and Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens). This disease first occurs in the tree’s second year, in late summer. The tree is characterized by its short, blunt needles, very large cones and drooping branchlets. Regents of the University of Minnesota. Remember, the label is the law. Spores are released from these structures on third year needles. Remove the most heavily infected trees in the landscape to protect neighboring spruce trees. White spruce, including Black hills spruce, is a more susceptible species. Inner needles first become discolored in late summer, turning from green to yellow and brown. Promote good air movement by providing adequate spacing or controlling weeds. Caused by the fungus Lirula macrospora. These spores spread to new needles by splashing and dripping rain. It takes several years for Lirula macrospora to complete its life cycle. On second year needles, you will find a raised black line, which is a spore producing structure on the midrib on the underside of the needle. Unlike other needlecasts we find on spruce, the brown needles killed by Lirula can remain attached for several years. MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer. University of Minnesota Extension discovers science-based solutions, delivers practical education, and engages Minnesotans to build a better future. The needles show yellow bands that turn purplish brown about 17 months after infection. In some cases, horizontal black bands form across infected needles. This black line is a spore-producing structure created by the fungus. Not much is known about controlling Lirula. Make a second application one month later. The current year’s needles appear to be the most susceptible. White spruce, including Black Hills spruce, is more likely to be damaged. Inspect nursery stock for signs of infection. Jeffrey W. Dwyer, Director, MSU Extension, East Lansing, MI 48824. Lirula needle blight causes the inner needles of spruce trees to turn yellow then gray. If you will look at that page again, at the bottom, under Management, it states: Apply Chlorothalonil or Bordeaux mixture when new needles are half the length of mature needles and a second time, one month later. Jill O'Donnell, Michigan State University Extension, and Jan Byrne, MSU Diagnostic Services - White spruce, including Black Hills spruce, is more likely to be damaged. Michelle Grabowski, Extension educator and Cynthia Ash Kanner. The use of genetic resistant pine strains or clones has been identified in Austrian, ponderosa, and Monterey pines. Seeds from Eastern Europe have shown high resistance and are currently used to produce Austrian pines for Great Plains plantings. Brown spot needle blight in longleaf pine is controlled using fire. Photo: Jan Byrne, MSU. Infected trees have tan to gray needles near the trunk, and green needles on the tips of branches. This information is for educational purposes only. Issued in furtherance of MSU Extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Microscopic view of spore producing structure in the needle. All rights reserved. Browning interior needles caused by Lirula macrospora are being found on Black hills spruce. The 4-H Name and Emblem have special protections from Congress, protected by code 18 USC 707. Needles on lower branches are commonly infected first. Lirula macrospore fungus infects the trees during the warm summer months. In late spring through midsummer, infected needles release spores that spread by splashing and dripping rain to new needles. Lirula macrospora takes several years to complete its lifecycle. The fungus overwinters in infected needles on the tree. Hosts include Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens), and white spruce (Picea glauca). Apply a fungicide with the active ingredient chlorothalonil or copper sulfate when new needles are half the length of mature needles (typically May or June). On second year needles, a raised black line forms on the midrib on the underside of the needle. Lirula Needle Blight Causing extensive die back even in established trees, Lirula needle blight is a fungal infection. 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. Photo: Jan Byrne, MSU. Spores are produced beneath the elongated, slightly raised, black line along the infected needles. These diagnostic tools will guide you step-by-step through diagnosing a plant problem or identifying a weed or insect. To contact an expert in your area, visit https://extension.msu.edu/experts, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464). Occurs in Colorado blue spruce and white spruce. Lirula and Rhizosphaera are needle blight diseases occurring in blue spruce trees. July 8, 2016. Recent samples of browning interior needles on Black hills spruce sent to Michigan State University Diagnostic Services found Lirula needle blight. Inspect new seedlings and trees for signs of infection prior to purchase. Michigan State University Diagnostic Services, University of Minnesota Extension Lirula needle blight fact page. CAUTION: Mention of a pesticide or use of a pesticide label is for educational purposes only. Fungicides can be used to protect new needles from infection. Always follow the pesticide label directions attached to the pesticide container you are using. 2020 White spruce, including Black hills spruce, is a more susceptible species. Lirula needle blight is caused by the fungus Lirula macrospora. Newly developing needles are infected and remain green until the following spring when they die back from the tip and turn brown prior to bud break. MSU Extension recommends following these general plant health guidelines: Currently, no information is available on the effectiveness of fungicides for control of this disease. Shear healthy trees first and disinfect tools often. Occurs in Colorado blue spruce and white spruce. Lirula needle blight causes the inner needles of spruce trees to turn yellow then gray. Since the disease cycle is three years long, fungicide application must occur for three consecutive years to be effective. Protectant fungicides effective against other needlecast diseases such as chlorothalonil or mancozeb may provide control. Reference to commercial products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or bias against those not mentioned. Michigan State University Extension programs and materials are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or veteran status. The infection likely starts on first year needles. Since the disease cycle is 3 years long, fungicide application must occur for 3 consecutive years to be effective Lirula needle blight is caused by the fungus Lirula macrospora. Hosts include Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens), and white spruce (Picea glauca). Check out the MSU Viticulture Certificate Program! © Check out the MSU Agricultural Industries Certificate Program! To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit https://extension.msu.edu/newsletters. A fungal disease, lirula needle blight overwinters on the tree’s needles and becomes progressively worse over the course of three years. Avoid planting spruce where Lirula needle blight already occurs. * Norway spruce also occasionally is planted in North Dakota but only grows well in specific areas. Extension is expanding its online education and resources to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions. Black to brown, elongate to elliptical fruiting bodies appear in early summer on all surfaces of the dead needles. Infected needles turn grayish-brown, but remain attached to the tree for several years. For more information, visit https://extension.msu.edu. The fungus overwinters in infected needles on the tree. During late spring through midsummer, infected needles release spores. For more information, visit the University of Minnesota Extension Lirula needle blight fact page. Fungicides can be used to protect new needles on trees that are infected with Lirula needle blight and on neighboring spruce trees. This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. Black spore bodies that are smooth in texture develop on the needles about 23 months after infection. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Avoid planting spruce where Lirula needle blight occurs. The needles turn brown and appear dead.