Red Cedar Cercospora Needle Blight
News Release - Horticulture
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension
June 22, 2011
Check Cedar Windbreaks for Diseases
“My cedars look like they’re dying - what’s wrong?” seems to be a common question from people who have windbreaks containing rows of eastern redcedar.
Although there are several damaging disease problems on eastern redcedar, and other juniper trees, the one that seems to be most prevalent and the most damaging is Cercospora Needle Blight. Cercospora also appears to be more severe the last few years because of the cool, wet weather conditions which enhances its spread.
Often landowners do not recognize needle blight until the disease is in the severe stage. Control is necessary as severe infections over three or more years may result in mortality.
Cercospora needle blight is readily distinguished from other juniper diseases because the disease infects older foliage first. The foliage turns brown, dies and falls off, typically from the interior of the tree crown, outward and from the lower branches to the higher branches. Severely infected trees may only have a small tuft of green foliage on the branch tips.
Cercospora needle blight can be effectively controlled by spraying trees with a fungicide containing copper, e.g Bordeaux, or containing mancozeb, e.g. Dithane. At least two applications are necessary for best control. The first treatment should be applied during the second or third week in June, and the second treatment about the third week in July. If frequent rains occur in August and September, monthly treatments may be necessary for good control. It will also help to increase air flow around trees by thinning out and removing crowed trees.
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Source: Dennis M. Adams, forester
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