We moved into our home in August. In front of our house is a large evergreen...

Asked February 25, 2015, 8:08 AM EST

We moved into our home in August. In front of our house is a large evergreen that has a problem that we hope you can help us with. I have other pictures - but in the one atttached you can see that some of the branches have lost their hanging needles. These needles start to turn yellow and then fall off. It looks like branches are impacted separately. I believe it has gotten worse since we moved in -- the tree is in full sun - though the house may block the sun a few hours of the day. The previous owner said she did not spray her lawn with pesticides or herbicides. I could send you a picture of a branch on the ground - which shows a greenish pigment (growth) that looks like camouflage on the branch. The tree does produce long cones - maybe 6 inches long Can you help us determine what kind of tree this is, what the problem is with the tree - or where we can go to look this up? Thank you. Nancy

Montgomery County Maryland trees and shrubs spruce cytospora canker

1 Response

This looks like an old spruce, probably a Colorado "blue" spruce. (Many blue spruce are not very blue.)
These spruce are susceptible to a fungal disease known as cytospora. It commonly infects beginning with the lowest branches and slowly works its way up the tree. The tree begins to look terrible and most people cut it down. There is no cure for the fungus. To slow its spread, cut off infected branches when the weather is not wet.
Colorado spruce are not native here obviously, and not happy with Maryland's droughts and humidity. When plants are stressed, they are extra susceptible to diseases--in this case cytospora.
Please see the cytospora information on our website for more help: http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/cytospora-canker-spruce