Tree issue

Asked August 17, 2016, 2:30 PM EDT

A landscaper planted 2 Serbian spruces in my yard about 2 months ago. One started to look unsightly with numerous dead areas, per the attached photos. When he installed the tree it did have a large dead sunken in area already but he planted it anyway.The landscaper told me in the Spring the needles would be "flushed out' and would produce new growth. The dead branches are more than half the tree in height right now. Also, the tree is yellow-greenish in color unlike the other one that is a rich green in color. Can you please give me your opinion on what the landscaper is telling me. He said the tree is just under stress. The other Serbian spruce he planted at the same time and looks beautiful. One thing he did was he had a soaker hose on the trees with a timer that was not working properly, so it was on for 24 hours a day for 31 days. Needless to say my water bill was $376 for the month. He has since installer a new time. I would appreciate any thoughts you have on this tree. Also, the attached pictures are from different sides of the tree.Thanks!

Delaware County Pennsylvania trees and shrubs trees serbian spruce

1 Response

Usually when a plant declines within the first year of planting or less it can be attributed to an abiotic issue (site conditions, environmental, poor plant material, etc.) not a disease or insect. See our publication on these types of problems http://extension.umd.edu/sites/default/files/_images/programs/hgic/Publications/HG86%20Common%20Abio...
Some issues you may be dealing with are overwatering, possible poor plant material (you mentioned dead sunken area), planting techniques, etc. we cannot say for sure. You may want to look at our website for information on the planting process and care and maintenance after planting. New plants - Check soil moisture of newly planted trees and shrubs at least once a week. Soil that is moist or damp to the touch is fine. It is possible there may be some root loss when the timer was left on consistently. http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/trees-and-shrubs/planting-process
Check the warranty on the plants. You will have to talk to the landscaper regarding your options.
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