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Needle damage to western firs (3 Replies)

Posted July 25, 2014 at 7:24 am

I have recently noticed on my Abies Concolor and abies lasiocarpa needle damage and loss. We (Eat coast of Canada) have had very heavy rains and cooler temperatures so far. It appears to be a rust or blight and my camera(ME) did not capture the fruiting bodies on the needles . I’m hoping some of the west coast members might shed some light on this problem and tell me if its fatal? So far it appears to be
minimal but spread over the tree. It has not affected Abies balsamea or Abies Koriensis. so far.far.

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Posted July 25, 2014 at 8:29 pm

Hi Bill,
what we appear to be seeing here is one of the needle cast fungi (Lirula abietis-concoloris or Virgella robusta). I did a little research and found this link. At first I was just going to call it “that fungal thing that western firs get,” but I knew I could do better.

In my experience, it doesn’t seem to kill the tree, but more times than not with a bad infection, the tree will get so ugly that it will drive you to kill it. We get it really bad with Abies concolor and lasicarpa here in the Pacific Northwest.

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Posted July 26, 2014 at 8:07 am

Thanks David; As usual you are the man with the answers. I’ll cross my fingers and hope for the best. I grew my concolor from seed so am a bit partial to it. Maybe it and the lasiocarpa will turn around in 2015? Bill

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Posted July 26, 2014 at 11:04 am

keep your fingers crossed for dryer windier conditions. I recommend keeping the detritus under and around the trees cleared the best you can. I’ve been experimenting with planting concolor firs in pure sand for the past few years with reasonable success.

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