Cytospora Canker is by far the most common and damaging fungal disease affecting several varieties of Spruce. It can also affect Douglas Fir, Hemlock and the common Eastern White Pine.
The fungal spores associated with Cytospora Canker are spread by wind, pruning tools and even the feet of birds. The fungus appears as white, grey or bluish-grey spots or streaks on the trunk and/or limbs as shown in the photo. Cytospora Canker kills in a couple of ways; either limb by limb from any point in the tree or from the top down. Most of the time, however, limbs at the bottom of the tree are the first to exhibit stress and die off.
Cytospora Canker is not as big a problem in mountainous states because the rock and fine soil drains well, creating a wonderful environment for the trees' root systems. In our area, the heavy, loamy, clay soils adversely affect these trees almost from the day they are planted. Weakened trees are much more susceptible to insect and fungal issues. In the proper environment, Spruce can live well over 500 years, but, in our urban settings, without proper nutrition and drainage, 50-75 years is all that should be expected, unless they are properly cared for.
We recommend professional Root Fertilization to help combat Cytospora Canker. Over the years we have observed that Spruce trees under 15 years of age do not seem to be adversely affected by this fungus, even though they might have a substantial amount of the disease present on them.
We believe that because these trees are young and growing at their peak potential they are more able to fight off the negative effects of the fungus.
Tree Green has had tremendous success extending the life of trees affected by Cytospora Canker with our Root Fertilization program. We use a mix of high-quality minerals, nutrients and amino acids, which we pressure inject into the root zones of these stressed trees. This allows them to fight back against the canker, much like they did in their youth. Proper fertilization can tremendously extend the life of these beautiful trees.