Industry News: Tree Health

Q: What is causing a blue spruce to turn reddish brown and spread to the other spruces?

Friday, May 6, 2016  

Q: I have three beautiful, bushy, and otherwise healthy 15-20 year-old blue spruces, but last year I noted the top spike of one was turning reddish brown. This has now extended down the tree another foot or so. i fear it may also be affecting the other two. Last year, I pulled one rather large vine plant (kudzu?) with a 1/2" wooden vine that was growing through the tree. Any thoughts? your direction is much appreciated.

A: It looks like it could be dieback related to a fungal disease called cytospora canker, which is very common in blue spruce. Unfortunately, there is no direct treatment, but recommendations include proper irrigation (especially during dry periods) and fertilization, as necessary based on a soil test. By increasing the vigor of the tree, you increase its ability to fight the disease itself.

Responder: Patrick Parker, RCA #514, Bedford Hills, NY