Sad Evergreen trees

Asked April 13, 2017, 10:54 AM EDT

I live in a condominium in Canton, Michigan. When I moved here in 2009 the landscaping was lush and beautiful. Now it looks to me like the Evergreen trees are sick. No one seems to know what to do. We have a Board of Directors made up of home owners and we are trying to keep our expenses down. Do you know what is wrong with these trees and what we should do about it? They have been getting worse over the last three years. There is new growth bot lots of bare branches that are covered in a gray substance. Lots of trees are like this throughout the association. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Janet

Wayne County Michigan

1 Response

The photos look like "spruce decline". Spruce decline refers to several factors that are affecting spruce such as needlecast diseases, poor sites, insects and possibly cankers. Here is a link to an article that may help you determine what is going on.
You may want to send a sample to MSU Diagnostic Services ( determine the cause of the decline.

I think the gray substrate you are referring to are lichens. Lichens are commonly found on the bark of tree and shrubs as well as rocks, lawn furniture, etc.

Lichens are a symbiotic combination of a fungus with an algae or bacterium. The trees just provide a structure for the lichen to grow on and they don’t harm the tree. What often happens is as the tree declines for other reasons the lichen becomes more noticeable.

Please give me a call if you would like to discuss this further.