hello my name is Rebecca... #390483 - Ask Extension

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hello my name is Rebecca... #390483

Asked March 27, 2017, 2:54 PM EDT

hello my name is Rebecca Stickel we have a dozen Colorado blue spruce trees on our lot yard and they are all dying needles have dropped from all the lower branches and I was warning if you could help us with a reason . i'm attaching several pictures they started defoliating over the past several years and have worsened. seems to be spreading? Do you know what is doing this? Is there anything we can do to help save these or the other trees that arent as bad? Thank you for your assistance

Madison County Ohio

Expert Response

Hi Rebecca,

Your spruce problem is a tough one. It could be one of several issues - diseases, nutrients, environmental, incorrect planting depth, insects, mites, etc. Without seeing the actual tree, my guess is that it is a fungal disease. There are several fungal diseases that affect spruce trees such as Canker (especially affects older trees), Needlecasts, or Tip Blights. Here is a very good article explaining each of these:

http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/what_is_spruce_decline_and_what_should_you_do_about_it

The article has descriptions of the most common issues. You could then look more specifically at your trees and see if any of them fit your situation. To help save your trees, I would call an arborist or a professional tree company and have them come out to verify your problem. That is the best way to know how to combat it. If it is a fungal disease, there may be fungicides that could be applied but it also may not help all issues (for example, they help only new growth for needlecast diseases) or they may need proper timing.

Here is another helpful article that gives more pictures and descriptions of diseases, insects, and proper planting depth, etc.
https://web.extension.illinois.edu/plantclinic/downloads/Plant%20Clinic%20Report%20Spruce.pdf

Another source you could use is the OSU Ellet Plant Diagnostic clinic.  You can send them a sample (for a fee) and they will help identify your problem. 
http://ppdc.osu.edu/submit-sample

Well, I hope this helps.  Read the above articles, look at your trees for signs like spots on the needles, oozing sap, etc. and ask for a professional's opinion.   Good luck!

Sonya Porter - MGV Replied March 27, 2017, 5:47 PM EDT

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