Asked by: Carmel Ritterbach
science environment

What is wrong with my spruce tree?

Last Updated: 25th March, 2020

Blue spruce trees are susceptible to an infectious needle disease caused by the fungus Rhizosphaera. The disease, referred to as Rhizosphaera needle cast, is the most common problem seen on blue spruce samples that are submitted to the Plant Disease Clinic.

Click to see full answer.

Regarding this, how do you tell if a spruce tree is dying?

The appearance of small black spots, premature needle loss and a thinning canopy can be signs of Rhizosphaera needle cast. The infectious fungal disease starts near the base of the tree and spreads upward. A seriously sick blue spruce has purple or brown needles, dead branches and bald spots.

Subsequently, question is, can you save a dying spruce tree? As a result, bottom needles die to help hydrate the rest of the tree. This problem is easy to fix! If the tree's soil is dry to the touch, give it extra water through summer's dry spells. Continue watering throughout the fall, and apply mulch to seal in moisture.

Additionally, what is killing my spruce trees?

Rhizosphaera needle cast disease, caused by a fungal pathogen, can severely impact spruce, killing needles and causing them to drop prematurely. Wet years such as 2017 are great for the fungus, but bad for trees. Blue spruce trees are most commonly and most severely impacted.

Why are my spruce trees turning brown?

Spruces can suffer from Rhizosphaera Needle Cast, a fungal disease that causes needles on spruce trees to turn brown and drop, leaving bare branches. This fungus becomes active during long stretches of wet weather, such as we had in 2017. It usually starts near the base of the tree and works its way up.

Related Question Answers

Shoshana Rupa


Can a brown evergreen come back?

Whether needled or broadleafed, both evergreen trees and shrubs can look sickly and brown in spring, especially after a particularly cold or dry winter. Though there may be some branch loss, most brown evergreens do come back as spring progresses.

Kedara Zanasi


Will a spruce tree regrow needles?

These voracious eaters strip needles from spruce, and those needles will NEVER grow back. In three years, they can kill a tree. If your spruce is under attack DO NOT PRUNE the stripped branches. The bud at the tip is still alive, and will produce new needles next Spring which will disguise the damage.

Maribel Otermin


How do you keep a spruce tree healthy?

How to Care for Spruce Trees
  1. Water recently planted spruce trees regularly.
  2. Spread organic mulch around the spruce.
  3. Fertilize spruce trees in late autumn or early spring.
  4. Watch for signs of pests or disease.
  5. Cut back the main leader stem, if it is damaged.

Xian Tenaglia


Why is my spruce tree losing its needles?

Why Spruce Trees Lose Their Needles. If needles are browning at the tips of the branches followed by lower branches dying, you may be dealing with a fungal disease known as cytospora canker, which is the most common unnatural cause for needle drop on Colorado blue spruce.

Boukhiar Rings


How long does a spruce tree live?

Lifespan. In the wild, the Colorado blue spruce can live 200 years or more. In the home landscape, it usually stays healthy for about 40 to 60 years, after which its health begins to fail, according to Northern State University.

Lider Silaghi


How do you tell if an evergreen tree is dying?

How to Tell if an Evergreen Tree Is Dead
  1. Inspect the tree's canopy. Healthy evergreens show mostly green foliage even when shedding old needles.
  2. Test green needles and evergreen leaves by bending them between your fingers.
  3. Test the bark on the tree's trunk at the base if you've found extensive damage to the tree's canopy.

Dioscorides Corripio


How do you save a dying Norway spruce tree?

How to Save a Dying Norway Spruce
  1. Diagnose the problem.
  2. Water the tree generously and keep the surrounding soil moist.
  3. Make sure your Norway spruce is getting plenty of sun.
  4. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of 12-12-12 fertilizer onto the ground around the base of the tree to feed it.
  5. Spray your tree with an organic insecticide to eliminate mites and beetles.

Sheng Juanesena


How do you treat spruce fungus?

Consider treating affected trees with fungicides containing the active ingredient copper (e.g., Bordeaux mixture) or chlorothalonil. Treatments will not cure existing infections, but can prevent additional infections. Apply treatments every three to four weeks starting as new needles emerge in the spring.

Asya Zangwill


What's killing my evergreen trees?

Evergreens can develop armillaria root rot, also known as oak root fungus and shoestring disease. It kills the trunk at the base of the evergreen and the major roots. Symptoms of armillaria root rot are small, discolored needles or leaves that drop off. There may also be mushrooms growing on the trunk.

Irema Lansky


Is my blue spruce tree dying?

There could be several reasons for the lower branches dying on your spruce. If the upper branches provide too much shade, the lower branches naturally die off. Also, several diseases can contribute to branch dieback. Cytospora canker is a fungus that attacks spruces and causes branch death.

Aichetou Beizerov


Why are the needles on my blue spruce turning brown?

The brown needles eventually fall off, leaving bare branches. Blue spruce trees are also susceptible to Rhizosphaera needle cast, caused by the fungus Rhizosphaera. The disease begins on the tree's lower branches and works its way upward. Needles turn purple or brown in color and eventually fall off.

Willan Levita


What causes a blue spruce to die?

Blue spruce trees are susceptible to an infectious needle disease caused by the fungus Rhizosphaera. Second-year needles turn a purple or brown color and eventually fall from the tree. After several successive years of needle loss branches may die. In general, trees appear to die from the bottom upward.

Ezzahrae Oellerich


Why are my Leyland cypress trees turning brown?

Leyland cypress branches turn brown because of an infiltration of three types of fungi: seiridium, bought, and cercospora. These three fungi enter into the tree during the summer months when the heat enlarges the tree's stomata (pores on the leaf) and allow entrance of the fungi.

Mounira Lody


Why are my evergreens turning brown from the inside?

Environmental Causes of Pine Tree Browning
In years of heavy rain or extreme drought, pine trees may brown in response. Browning is often caused by an inability of the pine tree to uptake enough water to keep its needles alive. When moisture is overly abundant and drainage is poor, root rot is often the culprit.

Alcibiades Vial


Can a dying pine tree be saved?

Remove the lower branches of a pine tree that are dead, dying or damaged. Brown needles, dead branches and oozing sap—if you know what to look for, you can often read the signals pine trees put out when they need help. Sadly, sometimes pine trees can be too sick, stressed or damaged to save.

Rosemary Epal├ža


How much water does a blue spruce need?

To encourage healthy growth, water newly planted blue spruce trees at least once a week during the first year after planting until the ground freezes for the winter. During the hot summer months it may be necessary to water more frequently to keep the ground moist.

Florencia Andeme


Why is my dwarf spruce turning brown?

There are several possible causes of browning needles on your dwarf Alberta spruce (Picea glauca 'Conica'). One is the spruce spider mite. Another possibility is winter damage on that spruce. Evergreens don't go completely dormant, so a dry autumn, drying wind, and dry soil can cause browning.

Valerica Tischer


How do you revive a brown evergreen?

How to Fix a Browning Evergreen Bush
  1. Test the soil around the shrub.
  2. Adjust the soil nutrients if the tests show that the levels are low.
  3. Cut out dead limbs back to the main truck or stem.
  4. Snip off diseased limbs at least 3 or 4 inches back from the diseased area to insure that you remove all the disease.
  5. Check the dampness of the soil around the bush.

Eleonor Weinheimer


What causes conifers to go brown?

Many factors may cause browning of conifer needles. The most common cause of brown needles is winter browning. Evergreen trees continue to produce energy from sunlight (photosynthesize) throughout the winter, which requires water. This browning may appear more pronounced on the sunny (south and west) sides of the tree.