A lush, green spruce tree is a familiar site in Alaska. The tall, unmistakable tree is known for its light green needles. The Sitka spruce and blue spruce are commonly found outside of homes and businesses and throughout many cities. But something is threatening these beloved trees. Recently, a non-native invasive species has been afflicting the spruce buds. The disease-causing fungus can kill the tree or leave it looking dead and deformed. The spruce bud blight has recently been discovered in south central, interior and southeast Alaska.
What is it?
The fungus, commonly known as the spruce bud blight, infects the tree so it loses its current buds. The disease will then strip the tree of the ability to produce the needles needed to continue growing. Without the growth, the tree will inevitably die. Both the Sitka and blue spruce are incredibly susceptible to this fungus.
How is it caused?
No one knows for sure how the fungus first made its way to Alaska. Researchers believe it likely arrived when infected trees were brought in from another state and then planted in the native soil. Another theory is that it is caused by spruce sawfly larvae or the spruce budworm. The insects will latch onto a tree and consume all new growth until there is nothing left. The disease spreads throughout the forest as the pest moves from tree to tree.
Spruce bud blight was first found in Homer, Alaska about four years ago, but it took some time to spread throughout the state. The fungus spores disperse from tree to tree on the wind or by the movement of the bug. They can also be transferred by the rain, with the tainted water dripping from one branch to another in dense areas.
What are the signs of an infection?
Unfortunately, the fungus isn’t very easy to spot until it has grown to an extent that would prove fatal to even the most sizable trees. The fungus will be a dark black color that looks as though it has left a dead, lumpy and crusty coating on the bud and any new growth. The coating is actually an accumulation of small, spherical fruiting structures. Not all infections are fatal, though. An infected tree can be left diminished and without needles. Any new branches will grow at a bent angle. Typically, as soon as you notice any of these signs, it’s likely too late for pest control in Alaska to be helpful in bringing your tree back to life.
How can it be prevented?
Helping your spruce trees to avoid being ravaged by this fungus requires preventative planning. Your best tactic is to hire a professional for pest control in Alaska on a regular basis. Spraying insecticides will put a stop to a potential infestation before it even begins. The chemicals will kill any larvae or insects searching for a home in your beautiful spruce trees.
Don’t let your spruce trees be ruined by the spruce bud blight. Call Pied Piper Pest Control to ensure the health of your spruce trees against this infestation.
Categorised in: Pest Control
This post was written by Writer