Blue Spruce - Dead Needles Inside Green Growth On Ends

Asked July 15, 2015, 8:24 PM EDT

I live in Brooklyn Park. I have a hugh 30 year old blue spruce tree. The majority of the branches have dead needles going from the trunk outward all the way up the tree. The branch tips have about 6 inches new growth, so the tree looks healthy on the outside. I'm wondering if the tree has a disease. I've heard that blue spruces only live about 30 years in Minnesota, so I'm wondering if it might be dying. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Hennepin County Minnesota

1 Response

Yes, it has a disease. Yes, it is dying. Blue spruce is not a suitable tree for the humid climate of Minnesota. It is susceptible to a number of diseases, making it a short lived tree. The description you gave sounds like rhizosphaera needle case:
http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/fid/june02/rhizo.html
http://www.extension.umn.edu/Garden/yard-garden/trees-shrubs/spruce-tree-diseases/rhizosphaera-needl...

Fungicides can slow the disease somewhat. Read here about blue spruce:
http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/trees-shrubs/choosing-landscape-evergreens/