Month: November 2018

Spruce Decline: Why Are My Spruces Looking Thin?

Cankers on blue spruce in michigan

Blue Spruce are a staple ornamental tree for Michigan homeowners due to their fast growth rate and lush blue foliage that lasts year round. But in recent years it has been discovered that they are susceptible to a wide range of insects and diseases.

 

The Symptoms Of Spruce Decline

The spruce decline has increased in recent years and trees are dying rapidly in many areas. The symptoms of spruce decline are progressing branch dieback which starts on the inner needles and works its way out over several years. To identify the fungus look closely at the infected needles. You will be able to see lines of small black dots along the surface. These black dots are where the spores live and are released by moisture.

 

Why Blue Spruces?

Blue Spruces are native to the mountains of Colorado but have been found to flourish in Michigan’s climate as well. But because Michigan’s climate is more dynamic than the Rocky Mountains this makes them susceptible to slight changes in the environment and diseases.

There are three diseases that affect blue spruce trees:

 

1. Needlecast: Is caused by a fungus that often infects needles on the current year’s shoots. As it progresses, the needles die, usually the year following the infection. Trees affected by needle cast have healthy outer branches but the inner branches are bare.

 

Pruning infected branches of blue spruce2. Tip blight: Tip blights are fungal diseases that typically cause dieback to new, emerging shoots. Tip blight is common on pines, but can also occur on spruces.

3. Cankers: Cankers are caused by fungi that infect branches or the main stem of trees. Symptoms of cankers are sores that ooze sap or resin. Cankers can prevent water and other nutrients from being transported up the tree.

 

How To Prevent Spreading

Prune infected branches and sweep up needles that have dropped off. Destroy or store the infected needles and limbs far from other spruces to reduce the risk of infecting other trees. There are some commercial fungicides that can protect the needles from getting infected but you must cover the entire tree and it only lasts for one season. If the disease has spread too far the best option is to remove the tree entirely.

 

If you have a declining spruce tree call PPM so we can remove the tree before it spreads to your other spruces.

5 Tips On Transplanting Trees

If you love trees then you hate to see them go to waste. If you have trees growing on your property in inconvenient places you might want to transplant them someplace else, why not, it’s a free tree! Here is a list of 5 tips to help you transplant a tree properly.

Prepare the Sitetree transplant

Before you even dig up the tree you should dig the hole first. It should be about three times as wide and the same depth as the root ball. If you are planting in the fall or the tree is more than 1 inch in diameter, you can rinse the soil off the roots to make it easier to handle. Set the tree in the hole so that the soil line on the tree is even with the surrounding soil. Don’t plant too deep. Cover the roots with dirt and gently pack it. Use the end of a shovel to pack dirt in further and create holes for watering. Form the dirt around the base of a tree into a bowl shape to keep water from flowing out and eroding the dirt away.

Save the Roots

The amount of roots you need to transplant a tree depends on the diameter of the trunk. Deciduous trees with a 1-inch trunk diameter should have a root ball size of about 18 inches wide and 14 inches deep. For a 2-inch diameter trunk, the root ball should be at least 28 inches wide and 19 inches deep.

Plant in the Fall

The best time to plant a tree is when the tree is dormant. Do so before the ground freezes and it can still receive adequate rainfall. Fall planting allows nutrients to be directed to the roots since there is no more demand from leaves.

Water Regularly

prune branches

Because it’s impossible to not damage roots when you transplant a tree, newly transplanted trees need a regular watering schedule for the first two to three years after planting, especially during dry periods. If you are transplanting in the fall when the tree is dormant it is not recommended to water after the first frost.

Prune

To help promote root growth and lessen stress on the tree, young trees should have lower branches pruned. This is especially true if you are planting in any season other than fall. This will help balance the loss of roots and the shock of the transplant. Remember, trees grow out, not up, so those knee high branches are going to have to be cut at some point anyway.

Trees that are over 2 inches in diameter can weigh several hundred pounds. Trees this size should be handled by a professional. If you have any trees that need planting make an appointment with PPM today.

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