Google Translate Disclaimer

A number of pages on the Government of Saskatchewan`s web site have been professionally translated in French. These translations are identified by a yellow text box that resembles the link below and can be found in the right hand rail of the page. The home page for French-language content on this site can be found here:

Renseignements en Français

Where an official translation is not available, Google™ Translate can be used. Google™ Translate is a free online language translation service that can translate text and web pages into different languages. Translations are made available to increase access to Government of Saskatchewan content for populations whose first language is not English.

The results of software-based translation do not approach the fluency of a native speaker or possess the skill of a professional translator. The translation should not be considered exact, and may include incorrect or offensive language Government of Saskatchewan does not warrant the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of any information translated by this system. Some files or items cannot be translated, including graphs, photos, and other file formats such as portable document formats (PDFs).

Any person or entities that rely on information obtained from the system does so at his or her own risk. Government of Saskatchewan is not responsible for any damage or issues that may possibly result from using translated website content. If you have any questions about Google™ Translate, please visit: Google™ Translate FAQs.

Is Your Shelterbelt At Risk?

By: Sherri Roberts AAg Regional Crops Specialist – Weyburn

Bare branches and needle loss are
signs of needlecast in spruce trees
Have you noticed your magnificent shelterbelt spruce trees looking poor?

Do they have bare branches and significant needle loss?

Are some of the needles showing a purplish tint to them?

These are all classic symptoms of the fungal disease rhizosphaera needlecast. While this fungal disease prefers spruce trees it will also infect pines, cedars and fir trees.

Examining the needles under a hand lens will reveal what looks like black specks of pepper on the needle surface that don’t brush off. These are pycnidia; the fungal fruiting bodies that have infected the stomatal openings on the needle surface. On spruce, the pycnidia are present on all sides of the needle, whereas on fir, they occur only on the underside of the needle.

Needles showing a purplish tint
are also a sign to look closer for
needlecast.
The disease begins in the lower portion of the tree with infected needles being shed, causing branches to look sparse. The fungus overwinters in needles that have fallen to the ground or are still attached to branches. Spore dispersal from infected needles occurs during wet weather, spread by rain from the needles infected the previous season to newly emerging needles. As it progresses, the infection moves its way up the tree, eventually killing enough needles so that the tree dies. Optimal conditions for Rhizosphaera spp. are during times of excess moisture and humidity.

Cultural methods can be adopted to reduce the spread of rhizosphaera needlecast:

  • Avoid pruning or shearing trees during wet weather and sterilize pruning tools frequently by dipping in 70 per cent alcohol for three minutes;
  • Remove severely infected branches;
  • Rake fallen needles from the base of trees, where practical;
  • Promote good air circulation and encourage rapid drying of foliage by mowing the weeds and grass from around trees.

Chemical controls registered for rhizosphaera needlecast include fungicides containing chlorothalonil or copper sulfate. Apply as per label instructions beginning in the spring when new shoot growth is one to five centimetres in length, and at three- to four-week intervals until conditions no longer favour disease development.

We need your feedback to improve saskatchewan.ca. Help us improve