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Conserv FS News

Posted on: 11/8/21

Posted on: 10/13/21

Posted on: 09/14/21

Posted on: 08/12/21

Posted on: 7/9/21

As the 2021 grass seed harvest gets underway, the initial indications are that the yields will be down significantly this year.  Low precipitation combined with record heat in the western united states will likely reduce yields by 25%-50%, depending on the species.  Additionally, demand has been abnormally high the last 15 months due to previous COVID restrictions, which has virtually eliminated any carryover seed from the 2020 harvest. 

Whereas we are confident that we will secure enough seed for your Fall needs, pricing will be up significantly in the near future.  Firm numbers are still a couple of weeks away, but an increase of 30%-40% is certainly a possibility, depending on the mixture. 

One possible solution is to add or increase the amount of turf-type annual ryegrass in your seed mix.  Our turf-type annual ryegrass blends in well with other grasses and germinates quickly, helping to reduce erosion and thus protect the other seed.  Another possibility is trying to maximize the germination by using a nutrient-coated mix.  The coating helps protect & nourish the seed until it germinates and the increased germination percentage helps to offset the reduced seed count in the bag.  For questions or more detailed information, please contact your sales representative.

Posted on: 6/9/21


Cytospora canker, caused by the fungus Cytospora kunzei (also known as Valsa kunzei var. piceae), is the most prevalent and destructive fungal disease of Norway and Colorado blue spruce. Occasionally, Cytospora canker is found on Douglas-fir, hemlock, and larch. Susceptibility varies widely among species, but generally trees under stress or growing outside their natural range are more prone to the disease. Cytospora canker rarely affects trees less than 15 to 20 years old. Infected trees are weakened substantially, but are rarely killed.


The disease normally starts on the lowest branches of the tree and, over a period of several years, progresses upward. At first, needles have a purplish hue, eventually turning brown and dropping, leaving dry, brittle twigs and branches. On severely infected trees, the fungus will enter the trunk through wounds (usually where the branch meets the trunk of the tree), killing the cambium layer and leaving dead bark. This dead tissue is called a "canker." A conspicuous white resin or "pitch" covers the cankered portion of the branch or trunk, sometimes flowing several feet down the trunk of the tree. This is an important means of diagnosing Cytospora canker; however, resin flow can also be associated with other tree injuries and is not exclusively symptomatic of Cytospora canker. Within the cankered area, black, pinhead-size fruiting structures (pycnidia) of the fungus can be seen with a microscope or hand lens and are a positive sign of the disease.

Disease Cycle

The fungus survives long-term as mycelium and spores in diseased stems. The canker grows slowly, eventually circling and killing a twig or branch. The fungal spores (conidia) are the principal means by which the disease spreads to other branches, entering through bark wounds and injuries. Infections occur in cool, wet weather. Spores are dispersed by splashing rain, wind, sprinklers, pruning tools, and possibly by movement of insects and birds. Canker development is most severe in trees under stress from drought, insect damage, crowding, nutrient imbalance, and mechanical damage to branches, trunks, or roots. Symptom development becomes more common one or two years following a severe summer drought.

How do I save a tree or shrub with Cytospora canker? 

Immediately remove and destroy any diseased branches. Prune only in dry weather.  Between cuts, be sure to clean your pruning shears by dipping them for at least 30 seconds in a 10% bleach solution or 70% alcohol (spray disinfectants that contain at least 70% alcohol can be used).  This will prevent movement of the fungus from branch to branch, or from tree to tree during pruning. 


Rhizosphaera needle cast is a common foliar disease of spruces and other conifers caused by the fungus Rhizosphaera kalkhoffii. Colorado blue spruce is particularly susceptible and can be severely damaged by this disease. Other hosts include white, black, Engelmann, Sitka, and Serbian spruce; Austrian, mugo, Eastern white, and Japanese red and black pine, as well as Douglas-fir and Siberian fir. Norway spruce is relatively resistant.

Disease CycleDisease Cycle

During late summer, this disease causes first year needles to appear mottled or speckled with dull yellow or reddish blotches. Later, (often the next year) infected needles on the interior of a branch turn purplish-brown (from the tips downward) and drop prematurely. Infection generally begins in spring on the needles of the lower branches soon after the needles have elongated. Symptoms spread upward and around the tree. Sometimes infection will start on branches in the middle of a tree, creating defoliation "holes" among healthy branches. Heavily infected trees can suffer severe needle loss and branches may die as they become defoliated. Trees are rarely killed by Rhizosphaera needle cast, but several years of attack will take its toll and only the current season needles may remain. In moist conditions, the fungus inside older needles produces black fruiting structures (pycnidia) that appear as distinct rows of black, pinhead-size dots. These fruiting structures emerge through needle pores (stomata), either before or after the needles have dropped. This can be seen with a hand lens or by the unaided eye. Healthy stomata appear white. The rows of black stomata are a diagnostic feature of Rhizosphaera needle cast. This disease can be frustrating because severe defoliation can occur quite rapidly and without indication that the disease is even present.


Cultural: As with most fungal diseases, infection occurs in warm, wet weather. The spores of Rhizosphaera needle cast are released from spring until fall; thus, working near trees in wet weather should be avoided throughout the growing season. For all trees showing symptoms, remove (when feasible) dead branches, fallen needles, and cones under the tree to prevent further infections. Prune surrounding plants to promote better air circulation and keep plants well watered, especially in periods of drought, to alleviate stress. Water all evergreens before winter to avoid root desiccation and winter injury.

How do I save a tree or shrub with Rhizosphaera needle cast? 

You can treat infected trees with fungicides containing copper (e.g., Bordeaux mixture) or chlorothalonil.  These treatments will not cure existing infections, but can prevent additional infections.  Apply treatments every three to four weeks during periods of wet weather.  DO NOT use the same active ingredient for all treatments.  Instead, alternate the use of copper and chlorothalonil to help minimize problems with fungicide-resistant strains of Rhizosphaera kalkhoffii.  For fungicide treatments to be effective, you must thoroughly cover all susceptible needles.  This is often difficult in large trees.  Be sure to read and follow all label instructions of the fungicide(s) that you select to ensure that you use the fungicide(s) in the safest and most effective manner possible.

Posted on: 5/07/21

Mosquito control can be a profitable service add-on. Everyone agrees mosquitoes are an annoying and potentially dangerous pest in the summer months. That would seem to present a big business opportunity for anyone in the business of getting rid of mosquitoes. Lawn and landscape companies that have begun offering mosquito control services are taking advantage of that broad-based demand.

Not only can mosquitoes carry diseases that afflict humans, but they also can transmit several diseases and parasites that dogs and horses are very susceptible to. These include dog heart worms, eastern equine encephalitis and West Nile virus.

There are about 200 different species of mosquitoes in the United States, which live in specific habitats, exhibit unique behaviors and bite different types of animals.

Different species of mosquitoes prefer different types of standing water in which to lay their eggs. The presence of beneficial predators such as fish and dragonfly nymphs in permanent ponds, lakes and streams help keep these bodies of water relatively free of mosquito larvae. However, portions of marshes, swamps, clogged ditches and temporary pools and puddles are all prolific mosquito breeding sites.

Posted on: 4/14/21

Maple Tar Spot Disease

Maple tar spot is a very visible problem for maple trees. It starts with small yellow spots on growing leaves, and by late summer these yellow spots expand into large black blotches that look just like tar has been dropped on the leaves. This is because a fungal pathogen in the genus Rhytisma has taken hold.

When the fungus initially infects a leaf, it causes a small 1/8-inch-wide yellow spot. As the season progresses, that spot spreads, eventually growing up to 3/4 inches wide. The spreading yellow spot also changes colors as it grows, slowly turning from a yellow-green to a deep, tarry black.

The tar spots do not emerge right away but are typically obvious by mid to late summer. By the end of September, those black spots are at full size and may even appear to be rippled or deeply grooved like fingerprints. Don’t worry, though, the fungus only attacks the leaves, leaving the rest of your maple tree alone.

The black spots are unsightly, but they do not do any harm to your trees and will be shed when the leaves fall. Unfortunately, maple tree tar spot is spread on the wind, which means that your tree can get reinfected next year if spores happen to hitch a ride on the right breeze.

Maple Tar Spot Treatment Because of the way maple tar spot disease is transmitted, complete control of maple tar spot is virtually impossible on mature trees. Prevention is the key with this disease, but if nearby trees are infected, you can’t reasonably expect to destroy this fungus without community support.

Start by raking all your maples fallen leaves and burning, bagging, or composting them to eliminate the closest source of tar spot spores. If you leave the fallen leaves on the ground until spring, the spores on them will likely reinfect the new foliage and start the cycle again. Trees that have trouble with tar spots year after year may also be struggling with excessive moisture. You will do them a great favor if you increase the grade around them to eliminate standing water and prevent moisture build-up.

Trees may require treatment, especially if other trees have had a lot of their leaf surfaces covered by tar spots in the recent past. If you’re planting a younger maple in an area prone to maple tar spot, treat tar spot by applying a fungicide, like bayleton and mancozeb, at bud break and twice again in 7- to 14-day intervals is recommended.

Posted on: 3/9/21

Posted on: 2/16/21

Posted on: 1/12/21

Posted on: 12/08/20