Douglas Fir: Rust

categories: Conifers Douglas Fir Douglas Fir Diseases Ornamentals

revision date: 2023-01-31 12:00

Douglas fir needles against a green background showing yellowish pustules on needles from rust.
Douglas-fir Melampsora rust
Photo by: G.A. Chastanger


Rust is a fungal disease infecting the needles of Douglas fir. Wind-blown spores infect the new needles in the spring. Yellow to orange bumps, or pustules, are found on the underside of needles in the spring or early summer. The infected needles are usually a discolored yellowish-green. If the disease pressure is very high, sunken red-brown cankers may be found girdling the current season’s branches. Rust overwinters on the fallen leaves of black cottonwood and other poplars which are alternate hosts to the disease.

Management Options

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful plant problem management.

Non-chemical Management

Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

  • Remove alternate hosts (black cottonwood and other poplars) near plantings.

Chemical Management

IMPORTANT: Visit Home and Garden Fact Sheets for more information on using pesticides.

  • Make one application when shoots are 1 to 1.5 inches long.
  • Homeowners should not make foliar applications to trees over 10 ft tall.
  • Consult a commercial pesticide applicator for treatment of trees and shrubs over 10 ft. tall.

Approved Pesticides

Listed below are examples of pesticides that are legal in Washington. Always read and follow all label directions.

Additional Images