Cypress blight, often caused by fungi like Seiridium cardinale, Seiridium unicorne, and Seiridium cupressi, can be particularly detrimental to cypress trees. Infected trees show symptoms such as browning of needles, branch dieback, and cankers on stems. Unfortunately, once infected, there are no effective treatments for this disease. Here’s a guide on managing Cypress needle blight:
Cultural and Physical Controls:
- Resistant Varieties: If you’re planting new trees and needle blight is a concern, consider choosing resistant or less susceptible varieties.
- Spacing: Ensure adequate spacing between trees to improve air circulation, reducing conditions favorable to fungal growth.
- Pruning: Regularly prune out and dispose of infected branches. Make sure to disinfect pruning tools between cuts using a solution of 10% bleach or 70% alcohol to prevent the spread of the pathogen. Destroy all infected material.
- Watering: Water trees at the base rather than overhead to keep foliage dry. Wet foliage can create an environment conducive to fungal growth.
- Fall Cleanup: In the autumn, rake and remove fallen needles and debris around the tree. This helps reduce the number of overwintering fungi.
- Infected Material: Always dispose of infected branches, twigs, or foliage away from healthy trees. Burning (if legal in your area), burying, or bagging and trashing are good disposal methods.
- Inspect trees regularly for symptoms, especially during wet periods or in locations with a history of the disease.
- Stress can make trees more susceptible to diseases. Ensure your cypress trees receive appropriate water, especially during dry periods, and avoid injuring the bark. Proper fertilization can also help trees resist infections.
Use Clean Plant Material:
- When planting new trees, ensure they are disease-free. Purchase from reputable nurseries.
When Paul was 15 years old he got a job working on the golf course after school and on weekends. Now he is a Certified Arborist with emphasis on tree and plant health.