Johnston Twp. man watches as trees on his property are dying

Four years ago, Rod Linger bought 100 blue spruce saplings for his home in Johnston Township

Something is killing pine trees in Johnston Township.

JOHNSTON TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WKBN) – Four years ago, Rod Linger bought 100 blue spruce saplings for his home in Johnston Township. Now, the giant trees surround his property and are a picture perfect backdrop on his 15 acres. The only problem is something is killing these trees and quickly.

The Blue Spruce was going to be the perfect tree to have on this property. The Lingers like the way they looked and the color of the trees were to sit as a backdrop to their pond. But four years after the tree were planted, they noticed something was wrong.

The trees started dropping needles and began looking bare and his trees weren’t the only ones.

“I noticed around the neighborhood that some of the trees are completely bare. All the needles have dropped off,” Linger said.

The suspect is a tree fungus called Rhizosphaera or needle cast disease. It’s an airborne fungus that attaches itself to the tree and then slowly kills it, starting with the branches. Daniel Yoho with Davey Tree Service said the fungus affects primarily Colorado blue spruce.

The fungus spreads quicker in a moist climate, so with only seven dry days this winter, our current climate has been favorable for this fungus to keep killing the trees on this property.

“Out of my 100 trees, I would say 40 percent are showing signs of distress,” Linger said.

Yoho said there is a chance that some of the trees can be saved, but it will take some work.

“The best is to move the plants away from the ones that are (infected) if he has healthy ones. Take the dead ones out or the ones that are declining and get rid of them,” Yoho said.

To avoid a large-scale problem that impacts a certain variety of trees, it’s best to choose different species of plants so that if one group develops a problem, the rest are not impacted as much.

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