Spruce branches dying back.

Asked July 4, 2017, 4:10 PM EDT

Hello I have a number of spruce trees showing some major dying back of the lower branches. It looks like a fungus of something growing in the branches. The fungus is a blue gray color. Is there something that can be done to reverse or stop this dying back?

Anoka County Minnesota spruce horticulture

1 Response

The blue growth you are seeing is probably a lichen, in and of itself harmless. But the dying lower branches are something else. I can't tell from the photos you sent - I can't see if there are issues with the bark on the trunk or major branches, nor can I see the needles. But spruce (especially blue spruce) are susceptible to several diseases, most notably Rhizosphaera needle cast and Cytospora canker. Rhizosphaera eats away at the foliage from the inside out. Cytospora kills whole branches, which then have to be pruned away. With either disease, eventually the tree is an ugly mess. Read here:
https://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/trees-shrubs/spruce-tree-diseases/index.html

I suggest you contact a certified arborist for an assessment:
http://www.isa-arbor.com/findanarborist/arboristsearch.aspx

There is a good chance he or she will recommend removal.