Arbor specialist

Asked August 11, 2014, 10:57 AM EDT

The very tip top has broken out of our big beautiful Norwegian spruce tree. It has begun to look droopy five or so years back and this summer is unbelievably thin. What can we do? PS. I've removed all flower pots from around the base of tree and pulled the lawn furniture back about 15 feet to give it room. Our new Maple tree planted Nov 2006 has not yet been showing the brilliant color that we purchased it for, how many more years will that take to see color in the fall? And yes, it is on a shady tree lined street.

Jackson County Missouri

1 Response

Unfortunately, there is not much you can do about either of your tree issues. The environmental conditions of the past several years have been rough on plants. We had a few wet years, followed by the drought of 2012, followed by a dry spell last summer, then a long, cold winter, and now a rainy, cool growing season (or at least in Northeast Missouri where I am at). I saw many nice, big spruces die after the drought of 2012. Your tree is stressed and in decline. There really isn't anything you can do to make it fill out and look normal again. Keep it watered during dry spells.

The maple tree is probably receiving too much shade. Shade does play a role in a tree's ability to turn brilliant colors. Trees need sunlight to photosynthesize, or produce food (sugars/glucose). Their energy reserves, in combination with other factors determine how brilliant their color will be. If the tree receives too much shade, this can affect it's ability to have pretty leaves in the fall.