The key to preventing or controlling Cytospora infection is reducing stress. Cytospora canker is caused by the fungus Cytospora chrysosperma. Managing Cytospora canker involves total orchard management. These trees are often removed and replaced. Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips! Michelle Grabowski, Extension educator and Cynthia Ash Kanner. Use bleach to disinfect the pruners before and after each use. You may not have heard of cytospora canker until after a tree in your backyard is infected. Cankers are located close to the trunk of the tree on dead or dying branches. Find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: Keep up to date with all that's happening in and around the garden. Dead areas of bark appear, known as cankers. A sunken canker forms on branches and is often coated in a thick layer of resin. © Select a site well away from old Cytospora-infected trees. All rights reserved. Spruce trees grow well under these conditions and... Plant Norway or white spruce instead of Colorado blue spruce. If you do plant blue spruce, allow adequate spacing between trees in new plantings. Cytospora canker rarely kills spruce trees, but it can severely deform them. Fertilizing may also stimulate new growth that may fill in small vacant … Now is a good time to prune out … Signs and Symptoms of Tree Cankers . Reduce stress on spruce trees by providing water during periods of drought. Norway and white spruce are better adapted to Minnesota. Vigorous trees are less likely to get attacked. Pruning at this time should be avoided, since pruning tools may spread spores. Prune out any infected branches and burn them, since the fungus overwinters in cankered bark. Regents of the University of Minnesota. Canker diseases can easily kill branches or cause enough structural damage for branches to break free in severe weather. This fungus is often present in healthy branches. Needles turn a dull yellowish-green then purple-brown. Cytospora Canker ; Tips. It may take several years for the canker to girdle the branch. The best time for pruning is late winter or early spring in dry, sunny weather. If you notice that the lower limbs on your tree are dying, the tree might have cytospora canker disease. Cytospora. Sign up for our newsletter. Managing Cytospora canker involves total orchard management. Warnings. On dying branches, needles turn brown or purplish-brown, then fall off. How to manage Cytospora canker in spruce trees Plant spruce trees on sites with moist, well-drained soil in full sun. This is a fatal disease. The types of damage that leave the tree susceptible to infection include pruning wounds, flying debris from lawn mowers, string trimmer injuries, frost, fire and cat scratches. It is a destructive disease caused by the fungus Leucostoma kunzei that disfigures and can even kill vulnerable trees. One of the first symptoms of cytospora canker disease on spruce is the browning of needles on the tree’s lower limbs. Take care not to wound trees susceptible to this disease. The tree trunk can be infected through wounds. It attacks older trees, stressed trees and those with shallow roots or planted in inappropriate sites. On trees without needles, like peach trees, look for cankers on branches around pruning wounds. Cut out cankers that are limited to an area less than 50 percent of the branch circumference. This fungus is active in hot and humid conditions, and dormant in cold weather conditions. Cankers or lesions of dying plant tissue form on bark as well, creating areas that sink into the tree's surface while excreting a white ooze. Cytospora rarely kills spruce trees, but can badly deform them and damage the look of the tree. Disease begins when the tree becomes stressed by insect feeding, snow or ice damage, drought or other factors. Since weakened trees are susceptible to this disease, fertilizing to stimulate vigorous growth may help to combat Cytospora canker. These diagnostic tools will guide you step-by-step through diagnosing a plant problem or identifying a weed or insect. Take every precaution to keep the trees healthy and strong. 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