In addition to needle drop, when this pathogen strikes, youll also see patches of a white, dried sap-like substance on the innermost branches and trunk. Again, its best to replace the plant with a trouble-free choice if this fungal disease strikes. First, dwarf Alberta spruce are not tolerant of salt spray. Do you know whats going on with my dwarf Alberta spruce? An EEO/AA employer, University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension provides equal opportunities in employment and programming, including Title VI, Title IX, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act requirements. 2022 Trib Total Media | All Rights Reserved. Send your gardening or landscaping questions to email@example.com or The Good Earth, 622 Cabin Hill Drive, Greensburg, PA 15601. If youd like to get to the bottom of whats wrong with your plant, here are a few common problems with this variety of spruce. The spruce spider mite (Oligonychus ununguis) is a fairly common and damaging pest of conifers in the United States. Similarly, a forceful stream of water can help reduce mite numbers. There is little to be done once cytospora canker is confirmed. Most insecticides are ineffective against spider mites, and frequent use of insecticides can promote mite outbreaks by killing mite predators. It easily spreads from plant to plant on pruning equipment and clothing. Control: First determine if mites still active by shaking branches over a white piece of paper. Hold the paper out flat an inch or two beneath a branch. Once damaged, needles will not recover even after the mites are gone. Angela Ryczkowski is a professional writer who has served as a greenhouse manager and certified wildland firefighter. Shake or tap the branch and then check the paper, carefully inspecting it for miniscule moving spots. Sprays of horticultural oils can be effective, though they also kill the beneficial mite species that help keep spruce mites under control naturally. Its about 10 years old so Id like to try to keep it alive if possible. Encourage their presence by reducing dusty conditions with occasional water sprays and avoiding the use of broad-spectrum, persistent pesticides. Because other conifer disorders have similar symptoms, the presence of mites or mite eggs is used for diagnosing the problem. The mites suck fluids out from needles to feed. Spruce spider mites are tiny, measuring only about 1/50 inch across and looking like tiny moving dots to the naked eye. Plants should only be treated if mites are active or if large numbers of overwintering eggs are found on shoots. Tall, spiky flowers add a vertical interest to garden, Early spring chores to tackle amid covid-19 pandemic, TV Talk: WPXI-TV reporters son stars in Amazon Prime Videos The Lake, Kecksburg UFO Festival returns to Earth following pandemic complications, Tull Family Foundation not renewing Sewickley theater sponsorship, You can own a dinosaur skeleton and other prehistoric stuff for the right price, Western Pennsylvania's trusted news source. Under heavy infestations needles can brown or fall prematurely. Question: I have a dwarf Alberta spruce in front of my house, next to the walkway. Theyre resistant to many chemical pesticides (some even enhance their reproductive capabilities!). and help us continue covering the stories that matter to you and your community.
We teach, learn, lead and serve, connecting people with the University of Wisconsin, and engaging with them in transforming lives and communities. Most commonly, dwarf Alberta spruce fall victim to spruce spider mites. Good alternatives include weeping blue spruce (Picea pungens The Blues), dwarf Hinoki cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa nana gracilis), Blue Wonder spruce (Picea glauca Blue Wonder) and boxwoods. She is the author of several gardening books, including Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden, Good Bug, Bad Bug, and her newest title, Container Gardening Complete. Her website is jessicawalliser.com. At that point, its best to find a replacement. Conifers hold needles for up to four years so damage is sometimes found that represents an old infestation. These tiny yet extremely destructive relatives of spiders can quickly kill a tree. Heavy rain will wash mites off of plants and is a form of natural control. Horticulturist Jessica Walliser co-hosts The Organic Gardeners at 7 a.m. Sundays on KDKA Radio with Doug Oster. Greensburg, PA 15601. Spruce spider mites can attack a number of conifers including spruce, hemlock, white cedar (arborvitae), larch, and juniper. If theyre present, mites are to blame for your problem. At first it was just from the inside of the plant, but now it appears that the whole plant is losing needles. Generally, when mite populations build up enough to cause significant needle drop, theres little that can be done. Infested needles become mottled and appear yellowish to gray in color. Another possibility is a fungal canker known as cytospora canker that can also cause needle browning and drop. One of the spruce spider mite's preferred hosts is the dwarf Alberta spruce (Picea glauca "Conica"), an evergreen shrub or small tree found in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 2 to 8 and enjoyed for its slow growth rate, compact form and attractive foliage. How to Remove Scuffs From Terrazzo Tile Floors, How to Clean Vinyl Plantation Shutters So They Don't Spot, The Morton Arboretum: Dwarf Alberta Spruce, Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences: Spruce Spider Mite, University of Minnesota Center of Urban Ecology and Sustainability: Spruce Spider Mite, 17 gardening gifts for the plant-lovers in your life. Mites are only 150 of an inch long, but can be seen walking on a light-colored background. Phil Pellitteri, UW Insect Diagnostic Lab, UW-Extension Though they remain fairly popular among homeowners, there are many trouble-free alternatives that make a far better choice for homeowners who dont want the fuss. This pathogen is most common on older Alberta spruce. Support Local Journalism Last season, I noticed that some of the needles were turning brown and falling off the plant. Controlling mites is extremely challenging. Spruce mites are most active during cooler temperatures, when they feed by sucking the juices out of the needles. TribLIVE's Daily and Weekly email newsletters deliver the news you want and information you need, right to your inbox. Discontinue using these products and add compost to the soil in spring to help process some of the salts out of the soil. If large numbers of eggs are observed in the fall, plants should be checked in spring for signs of activity. Sprays containing insecticidal soap, horticultural oils or specific miticides (hexthiazox, bifenthrin) are effective controls. Dwarf Alberta spruce are prone to mite infestations that can lead to needle drop and death. Spider mites feed by sucking on plant sap.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts in urban and regional studies. These pests, more closely related to spiders and ticks than insects, have several natural enemies. Send your gardening or landscaping questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or The Good Earth, 622 Cabin Hill Drive, Revised: 8/13/2012 Dwarf Alberta spruce also much prefer drier conditions to humid ones, so if the planting site is very sheltered with limited air circulation, the plant can suffer and be more prone to the following two afflictions. Horticulturist Jessica Walliser is the author of several gardening books, including Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden, Good Bug, Bad Bug, and her newest title, Container Gardening Complete. Her website is jessicawalliser.com. These mites go through four to six generations per year and populations can explode under warm, dry conditions. To check for an infestation, come spring, head out to the plant with a piece of white paper. Damage is more common on inner branches and areas protected from direct rain. Mites prefer to feed on drought-stressed plants, so providing the dwarf Alberta spruce with regular water during extended dry spells is important. If youre unable to find the information you need, please submit your gardening question here: Connecting people with the University of Wisconsin. Affected needles first develop a speckled, yellowish appearance before turning a rusty color and sometimes dropping prematurely. Answer: Dwarf Alberta spruce (Picea glauca Conica) are notoriously trouble-plagued plants, prone to a number of maladies.