Rust buster

Prevention is the key to stopping fungus from killing fir trees

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Jarrod McKee, Aspen Nursery owner

Iron isn't the only thing that rusts in the rain.

Fir trees can be attacked by lethal fungus during the damp months of spring, says Jarrod McKee, owner of Aspen Nursery in Post Falls.

“Prevention is the key because rust starts from the inside,” McKee said. “Fir trees are especially susceptible to it. A lot of people don't even realize their tree has rust until it's too late.”

Tree rust turns normally green, healthy needles reddish brown and the needles fall off the tree at the touch. If your tree has a red streak running through it, there's a problem. The fungus stops healthy growth and ultimately kills the tree. It can spread to multiple trees in a yard.

So what to do about this insidious problem?

“You need to spray your trees with copper,” said McKee. “It's an organic fungicide that needs to be sprayed on the tree from top to bottom. It's a solution that you will need to mix with water.”

April is the ideal month to spray the trees before fungus can take hold and spread. Copper costs under $20 and can be found at local nurseries. †

“A lot of people will hire a service to spray it, but people can do it themselves,” he said. “Under the right conditions, rust can spread so fast. I've seen it devastate fir trees in three or four weeks.”

For more information, call (208) 667-7511 or visit http://aspennursery.com/

†--Written by Marc Stewart

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