This evergreen tree is turning brown in spots. The browning starts near the...

Asked October 15, 2014, 9:56 PM EDT

This evergreen tree is turning brown in spots. The browning starts near the tree trunk and spreads to the outer limbs. It is located next to my house and is in full sun during the morning. I haven't done any fertilizer or pesticide. It has bees flying around it. I have several of these trees and they are 5 feet or smaller. One of them has already died. How do I take care of these tress and prevent the browning?

Prince George's County Maryland

3 Responses

The tree in your photo looks like it may be an alberta spruce but we cannot say for certain. We would like to see more photos of the tree and affected branches. This will give us more clues as to why the branches are browning. Please send photos of the whole tree including the site, around the base, and affected branches. Usually alberta spruce is subject to spider mites but this does not look like mites.

Here are 3 photos. the tree does have spider webs on it. Could birds or bees cause it? The tree looks great on the outside with just that one brown outer limb. when you pull the limbs back, it is brown near the trunk. The soil is very compact. The bottom limbs are at the ground so it is not possible to get a photo at the base.

We suspect canker and/ or spider mites. The dead branch likely has a canker. Cut out the dead branch where it joins the trunk. Wipe your clipper blades with alcohol after the cut. Shake the remaining branches over a white piece of paper to see if there tiny specks walking around on the paper. These specks will be spider mites. When you have Alberta spruces it is a good idea to periodically wash them with a strong stream of water from your hose, especially in hot dry weather. This keeps the spider mites washed off. Water deeply in time of drought so as to reduce stress. Birds and bees do not cause cankers or spider mites or problems on Alberta spruces. vw