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Lexington, KY 40546

Online at: www.uky.edu/KPN

Number 1362
LANDSCAPE TREES -Stunted Pines and Brown Needles: Diplodia Tip Blight GREENHOUSE -Recurring Pythium in the Greenhouse LANDSCAPE TREES Stunted Pines and Brown Needles: Diplodia Tip Blight Nicole Ward Gauthier, Extension Plant Pathologist Diplodia tip blight is a serious disease of mature Austrian, Scots (Scotch), and Mugo pines in Kentucky. The disease is caused by the fungus Sphaeropsis sapinea. In the landscape, tip blight is normally not observed until pines reach about 12 years old and begin to bear cones. Continuous infections (3 to 5 consecutive years) can greatly weaken and eventually kill affected pines. Infection occurs in spring; however, disease symptoms (Figure 1) become more obvious in midto late-summer and fall. Needles in early stages of development stop growing as a result of shoot infections. These stunted needles eventually die and turn straw-colored (Figure 2). Infection progresses to healthy needles and cones (Figure 3).

November 12, 2013


Disease Management Apply fungicides (chlorothalonil, propiconazole, or thiophanate methyl) to trees just as buds swell in spring. Apply a second spray when the candles are about half elongated and a third spray as needles begin to emerge from the needle sheaths. Remove and destroy dead twigs, branches, and cones as they occur. Do not prune when trees are wet. Destroy all blighted needles, twigs, and cones debris as they fall to the ground. The fungus overwinters in debris, especially infected cones and diseased needles. Trees under stress tend to be more susceptible to tip blight. Fertilize and water trees as needed to promote vigor.

Figure 1. Symptoms of Diplodia tip blight.

GREENHOUSE Recurring Pythium in the Greenhouse Nicole Ward Gauthier, Extension Plant Pathologist One of our local greenhouse growers struggled with Pythium infections in pansy earlier this year. Now, poinsettia are infected with the same root rotting/damping off fungus (Figures 4 to 7).

Figure 2. Stunted needles turn a straw-color.

Figure 4. Root dysfunction due to Pythium root rot results in wilting.

So, why would Pythium be a recurring problem? Simple. Sanitation. Sanitation is critical for greenhouse production, landscapes, orchards, and gardens. In this greenhouse, fungal propagules are obviously spreading via debris, hoses, shoes, tools, drainage water, and more. Also, Pythium favors soilless mixes, where there's no competition. Growers should verify that potting mix is not contaminated and that containers are sterilized before reuse. Moreover, greenhouses must be disinfested between crops, so that disease-causing propagules are not carried over from one crop to another. Once a greenhouse is infested with Pythium, fungicides are required for disease management. A single fungicide application will not be sufficient to manage disease, so a regular schedule should be employed. Rotate fungicides by FRAC group (mode

Figure 3. Cones may also become infected with the Diplodia tip blight fungus.

For more information on tip blight or pine diseases: Needle Cast Diseases of Conifers http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/id/id85/id8 5.pdf Twig, Branch, and Stem Diseases of Pine http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/ppa/ppa16 /ppa16.pdf Department of Plant Pathology, Extension Publication page http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agcollege/plantpath ology/extension/pubs.html

Figure 5. Pythium root rot causes a discoloration and decay of the small absorptive roots (feeder roots).

Figure 6. Infections cause the outer layer of the root (cortex) to easily strip off, leaving a narrow core of inner vascular tissue.

of action), avoiding two consecutive applications of any particular group and observing maximum numbers of applications per season. Fungicides effective against Pythium include: mefenoxam (Subdue MAXX) FRAC 4 etridiazole (Truban/Terrazole) FRAC 14 propamocarb (Banol) FRAC 28 dimethomorph (Stature) FRAC 40 phosphorus acids (Aliette, Alude, Vital) FRAC 33 etridiazole + thiophanate methyl (Banrot) FRAC 14 + 1 For more information on disease management of poinsettia or other greenhouse crops: Greenhouse Sanitation http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agcollege/plantpatholog y/ext_files/PPFShtml/PPFS-GH-4.pdf Fungicides for Management of Diseases in Commercial Greenhouse Ornamentals http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agcollege/plantpatholog y/ext_files/PPFShtml/PPFS-GH-3.pdf Poinsettia Diseases http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agcollege/plantpatholog y/ext_files/PPFShtml/PPFS-OR-H-2.pdf

Figure 7. Infections can extend up the stem.

DIAGNOSTIC LAB HIGHLIGHTS Julie Beale and Brenda Kennedy, Plant Disease Diagnosticians Recent samples diagnosed in the Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab have included anthracnose crown rot on alfalfa; bitter rot on apple; brown heart from boron deficiency on turnip; white leaf spot (Mycosphaerella) on Chinese cabbage; tomato spotted wilt virus on greenhouse tomato; Pythium root/stem rot on poinsettia; Cercospora leaf spot on hydrangea; Botyrosphaeria canker on ash; tip blight on pine; and Rhizosphaera needlecast on spruce.

Note: Trade names are used to simplify the information presented in this newsletter. No endorsement by the Cooperative Extension Service is intended, nor is criticism implied of similar products that are not named.