We have an approximately 20' tall green Spruce in our backyard, which we...

Asked August 31, 2014, 2:39 PM EDT

We have an approximately 20' tall green Spruce in our backyard, which we transplanted in 5 years ago. There are 2 green and 2 blue and they've all been thriving and growing well back there, save for the problem with this one green one. For the last 4 years it's had a problem where the branches keep slowly dying from the bottom up and from the inside at the trunk outward. They get brown and then slowly die. Is there something we can do to help this tree remain healthy? Thank you for your time!

Scott County Minnesota trees and shrubs horticulture

2 Responses

Thanks for your question.

It looks like your tree has Rhizosphaera needle cast, a common disease of spruce, especially Picea pungens, which includes green and blue spruce. Most blue spruce grown in our area eventually get this disease, along with a couple of others. These diseases are the reason we strongly discourage people from planting blue spruce in the landscape. These trees are more suited to the dry, mountain climate of the Rockies. Please read here about spruce and this disease:
http://www.extension.umn.edu/Garden/yard-garden/trees-shrubs/spruce-tree-diseases/rhizosphaera-needl...
http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/trees-shrubs/spruce-tree-diseases/
http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/fid/june02/rhizo.html

There is not much you can do to slow the disease, except prune out the badly infected branches. Eventually, the tree will have to be taken out.

Bummer! Thanks for your time and knowledge.