Problem with Horstmann's Silberlocke Firs

lizo(SE WI zone 5)July 12, 2014

I noticed this problem last year on one of two small Silberlockes that have been in the ground about 6 years.

Is it the fruiting bodies of a rust or blight, needle cast or insects? I do not see any sign of aphids or beetles anywhere at the moment, only these crusty brown things left behind. They are on one, two and three year old growth on the twigs.

The needles on the more infested tree are curled more than those of the other tree.

I pruned off all the affected branches I saw last summer but this year these blister type scabs are back on the twigs and have spread to the other tree now.

The trees look ok but are not growing much. This condition is now affecting about 60% of the worse tree.

The trees are 20 feet apart, in part sun/part shade, in average soil in the lawn. I am in SE WI and my soil is not ideal for them, red clay about 18" down with a high water table in spring/early summer, water and soil are 8-8.2 pH.

Should I just remove them and burn them? Even if I solve the pest problem, they may struggle and be miserable anyway.

I appreciate any suggestions! I have combed the internet looking at all the possible pests and blights and I cannot find anything that really looks like this.


This post was edited by lizo on Sat, Jul 12, 14 at 15:10

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lizo(SE WI zone 5)

Here is one more picture of a current year twig...

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 2:13PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Thats where the pollen cones where set. No issues there.

With all the rain we had in June that clay is not good for this plant. You rarely see Abies anywhere in SE WI unless you go to the kettle moraine area where its more sandy. They demand good drainage.

Are you sure your soil ph is 8? Thats pretty dang high for this area. Usually its between 6.5 and 7.5 on the high side.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 2:54PM
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lizo(SE WI zone 5)

Good news! Thanks!

I have a white fir that is thriving about 80 feet away from these- it is on a slope above them. It has been in since 2006 and doubled in size.

I am not 100% certain about the soil pH, but in Sheboygan county the high end is 8.1.

Judging by chlorosis of my clump river birch and neighbors' white pines I am guessing I'm on the high end.

The river was between 8 and 8.2 last summer when I tested it for an environmental science class.

My land is on a slope that runs to tributaries and into the river, less that half a mile away. The water table is so high here that when you dig a hole in the rainy months it fills with water. The aquifer/local well water is hard, ranging up to 8ish.

Across town closer to the lake the soil is very sandy. I'm on the back side of an alluvial flood plain that slopes to the river.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 3:55PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Dying back and swelling of some shoots, on the other hand, will be an indication of pest or disease issues.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 4:11PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

It sure would be nice if there was a selection of Abies concolor that had the outstanding color of Candicans but a bit fuller. Most diseased and problematic firs usually show that open look so its hard for me to think of it as character whereas a Pinus parv is meant to look open.

Thanks for sharing some pics of your yard!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 9:10AM
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lizo(SE WI zone 5)

Agreed- but in this case I like it open so it doesn't consume my entire yard! This one had this look from the beginning, it was a fairly large B&B already.

There are 3 or 4 gorgeous ones in a local park that are full right to the ground- they look like blue spruce at first glance. They are over 20 feet tall and lush- drive by Fountain Park in Sheboygan if you want to see them :) (then you can stop and look at my Silberlockes to make sure they are ok! hee hee)

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 11:23AM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Yahara Nursery (south of Madison) had a couple of outstanding concolors. Not the bright blue, but a deep, dark, rich blue and they were solid top to bottom. They stood about 30-40 feet tall. Too bad he closed up shop.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 6:07PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

My neighbor has one of those. Comparison side by side with a P. pungens.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 10:21PM
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Whaas, what about ? Same fullness as the species, with very blue needles. They are a slightly darker shade of blue the Candicans, but still very blue and full.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 1:31PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

I had a small one that died likely due to root disturbance. Trying another one this fall! But yes the color is really nice, very comparable to my 'Compacta'

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 2:58PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Due to bugs and other problems gauntness with age typical of cultivated Abies in general unless site is perfect for the species being grown (a great many sites often aren't perfect for the species being attempted). Even when looking full on the outside tree is really a conical hollow shell.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 1:44AM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

I've ecspecially noticed that with some Abies concolor after this winter. Only new growth remains.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 10:53AM
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mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

I took a picture of a Abies concolor on a mountain pass north of Yosemite Park on the western side of the Sierra Mountains growing in it's natural habitat. Could have been Tioga Pass which is in the park.

This post was edited by mikebotann on Thu, Jul 17, 14 at 11:12

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 2:11PM
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beng(z6 western MD)

Here's a 50 foot Concolor at Hagerstown Jr College. Actually double-trunked tho you can't see it:

This post was edited by beng on Thu, Jul 17, 14 at 11:04

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 11:02AM
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I have a Silberlocke that has been very healthy for five years. Now most of the inner needles are yellow. Any ideas?

    Bookmark   September 28, 2014 at 6:59PM
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