Why are my blue spruce needles turning brown and falling off?

Asked August 23, 2015, 5:39 PM EDT

The needles on my blue spruce are turning brown and falling off. Seems to be slowly working its way up the tree and mostly on one side of the tree that faces west. Just started doing this this summer. The tree is around 15 years old and was healthy until this. I don't see any bugs while looking at the branches with a magnifying glass. Is the tree dying, or is it some type of fungus? Is there any thing I can do to alleviate this?

Ramsey County Minnesota blue spruce

1 Response

The tree is probably suffering from water and heat stress. Blue Spruce are native to Colorado and do not do well when temperatures are high. They struggle with MN summers. Make sure the tree receives an inch of water a week from rain or the hose. Mulch under the tree out to the drip line. Grass is a serious competitor for water and contributes to water stress.