Spruce tree with dying branches

Asked September 28, 2015, 2:08 PM EDT

We have spruce tree with branches that are loosing needles. It seems to be progressing around the tree and from top to bottom. The needles are not dropping just disappearing. Some of the areas that lost needles last year are starting to regrow but more areas are being affected. The tree is about 20 feet tall. What shall we do?

Dakota County Minnesota

1 Response

We'd need to see the tree or sharp photos of the affected branches to explain what might be happening. As a rule, needles affected by disease drop but they do not disappear.

Disappearing needles suggests the the damage is being caused by insects, most likely sawflies. With that in mind, please compare what's happening to your tree with the information in these bulletins:
http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/diagnose/plant/evergreen/spruce/needleschewed.html
https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/trees/problems/pr061500.htm

If sawflies are causing the damage, watch for them in late-May or early June and take the control measures mentioned in the bulletins.