Very Important pine and spruce information from Ohio State University Extension:
Numerous calls came in to Extension offices throughout Ohio in the past week from landscapes, commercial plantings, and golf courses concerning issues with Norway spruces as well as white pines. The symptoms on Norway spruce include significant needle twisting and browning, terminal curling and drooping on new growth, and in some cases needle browning and twisting on older growth. These symptoms are different from earlier Norway spruce symptoms this spring (total or sectional dieback) presumed to be associated with weather conditions over a number of months.
There are a number of unanswered questions relative to this new damage as to: why there is such variability of injury, the potential for the plants to recover, the range of host plants that are affected, whether or not environmental conditions this spring or last fall contributed to the problem, etc. From what OSUE BYGLers have seen, a common denominator of this particular damage on these samples appears to be an association with turfgrass applications of the herbicide Imprelis.
This post-emergent, low-volume broadleaf herbicide from DuPont is a highly effective product that is being used by applicators for the first time in the field this year. It is a new subclass of pyrimidine carboxylic acid herbicide, named aminocyclopyrachlor. From the samples sent to Extension offices and labs and subsequent field visits to look at symptoms, this looks to be a significant problem with, as noted, many unanswered questions. Research and trials on the use of this chemical for turf care has been extensive, but widespread field use and experience is in early stages.
Damage noted this past week during field visits and from reports of damage from e-mails, phone calls, and images indicate variable damage of affected plants in group plantings. At one site, there was significant browning and distortion on over 10% of the Norway spruces planted on a large mound. Some effects were obvious on over half of these spruces, and on some spruces, over 50% of the foliage had browned as of the time of observation. BYGL writers will update readers and others as more is learned. In addition, OSUE staff will monitor certain sites to get a handle on plant recovery, make new site visits to the extent needed and possible, update a list of hosts where problems have been noted, and will forward additional information from other sources as obtained.
Please note that the Ohio State University C. Wayne Ellett Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic (CWEPPDC) can evaluate samples for evidence of disease and insect damage, but do not do chemical residue testing.
Arbor Doctor recommends you check with your turf care provider. Arbor Doctor partner Turfman is aware of this problem and is taking action, but your provider may not be informed.