The Q&A Archives: Redwood

Question: The leaves on my 5 year redwood tree in front of the house (facing north but gets enough sun) suddenly turns all brown, dry and brittle. When I asked my local nursery, they told me it could be due to fungus due to the dry and dusty summer that my area usually gets. They advised me to spray it with fungicide but they warned me not to get my hopes too high. Please tell me that my redwood will still be curable...

Answer: It's natural for the older needles on redwoods to turn brown and fall off in late summer and early fall; short twigs can also turn brown and fall at this time of year. If just the older needles are affected, I wouldn't worry too much about it. On the other hand, droughty conditions can kill young trees. If your tree wasn't regularly watered during the hot summer months, it may well have died. Redwoods can develop a needle blight (caused by the fungus Phomopsis) and if that's the case, applications of a copper based fungicide can protect unaffected needles but will not bring affected needles back to life. I'd suggest taking a sample of the problem to your local Cooperative Extension office for diagnosis before starting any treatment program. Phone (559) 675-7879. Good luck with your redwood!

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