Colorado Blue Spruce Dying?

Asked September 10, 2013, 5:57 PM EDT

I have a very tall old blue spruce in my front yard. It's probably 60 feet and maybe 80 yrs old. So far it has been healthy, but this summer it has started losing most of the needles about half way up the tree, and the branches appear to be dead. The top and bottom sections seem ok. Is it just stressed from the heat and drought, or could something else be wrong? If it decides to come down it could take out a lot of my house!

Kossuth County Iowa

1 Response

The hot, dry summers the past two years may have played a role in the death of the middle branches in the Colorado (blue) spruce. However, other factors were likely involved. For example, Cytospora canker may have played a major role in the death of the branches. An article on Cytospora canker can be found at the following website.

http://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/info/plant-diseases/cytospora-canker

The death of the middle branches should not significantly increase the risk of the tree being blown down during a storm. However, the tree is not very attractive. Also, additional branches may die over the next few months or years. It's unlikely anything can be done to prevent the further decline of the tree.