problems with my blue spruce

Asked March 25, 2017, 9:04 AM EDT

The blue spruce is about 30 years old and has full sun. For about 10 years or more the branches have shown more bare areas, starting from the bottom of the tree. See photo. It is very prevalent now. The top of the tree appears OK. What can I do?

Montgomery County Maryland blue spruce trees bare branches

1 Response

When older established spruce are stressed by drought or other site conditions the trees can be susceptible to Cytospora canker, a fungal disease. Blue spruce, in general, are not really well suited for our area as they are native to climates further to the north.

Older branches are more susceptible than younger ones. The disease often proceeds up the tree destroying branches and the tree’s ornamental symmetry.
There is not much you can do other than water during dry periods. Make sure mulch is no thicker than several inches and keep away from the base of the trunk. Prune dead plant material during dry weather. No chemical control is recommended.