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Singing the Blues

The next time you are out for a drive, look around….especially at the pine trees…specifically the blue spruce. Many of these trees are showing the signs of a blight. This blight is caused by fungus-like spores, and there is no way to cure the tree once it has been hit. The Penn State Extension office reports that these fungus-like spores hit the needles of the tree, which literally makes them starve to death. At first, these spores do little or no harm, but it starts killing the buds in the second year and the needles start to die. Chemicals (fungicides) are pretty much worthless for the ones hitting blue spruces.

The spores are attacking other pines such as hemlocks, but the blue spruce is being hit the hardest because they aren’t native to Pennsylvania and Ohio. The trees’ true home is in the Colorado region; therefore, the trees have no defense against these spores.

When the blue spruce was first adopted in this area it was popular to plant them in a row along streets and property lines for their ornamental value. Now, years later, these mature trees are infecting each other and will continue to spread the spores to the other trees.

Once evidence of infection is encountered, it may take years before the tree actually dies and it is up to the homeowner to determine when this particular tree is considered an eyesore and decides to have it taken down.

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