Needle cast is a fungal disease usually affecting spruce in the Grande Prairie region. The disease results in premature needle drop but, since they usually infect only two-year old and older needles, they rarely result in tree death. However, if a tree is already stressed by drought, insect infestation, or other diseases, needle cast may end up killing the tree.
Most needle cast diseases are aesthetic problems that usually attack second year or older growth. However, one disease, Lophodermium seditiosum, can result in tree mortality because it attacks new season growth and severely reduces photosynthetic ability. This more severe disease is not common in our region. The best control measure for this disease is to keep your trees healthy and well-watered, to rake up and dispose of infected needles, and consider planting trees not affected by this disease.