Is our spruce going to make it?

Asked June 23, 2016, 10:25 AM EDT

In October 2011, we purchased a Colorado Blue Spruce, Fat Albert (picea pungens glauca). It was 6’ tall, 8’ including the pot, 15G. It was planted in a large pot (30G) with drip irrigation, watered twice a week. It thrived for 3 years but then began to thin on the shade side. We replanted it into a 24” box. We have had the nursery look at it. There are no insects, scale or fungus. It is now 8’ from the root ball to the top but the center is a greenish brown rather than blue and several limbs on the back side are dead. We use ironite, all purpose and cottonseed meal as fertilizer. Is the tree dying? If so, can it be saved? We live in Vista, Ca in north San Diego County. Thank you for any help! Photos are attached. Karen Simmons g.simmons@juno 619-218-8078

San Diego County California

1 Response


It's hard to tell by the photos of the exact cause, but it's a good possibility that spider mites are causing the damage. Spruces also like well-drained soils. If it is planted in clay soils that holding too much water, it could also be root rot. I suggest you take a sample of the discolored limbs (but not completely dead portion) to the Ag Weights and Measures office in San Marcos to have them check for spider mites.