Dying blue spruce trees

Asked May 5, 2018, 1:34 PM EDT

We have a group (13) of blue spruce trees that are dying or infected with some type of disease. They were planted on a large berm that separates our barn from our house in 1999. There are so much dry, brittle, needleless branches (particularly on the east side near the house) that I consider them a fire hazard. I have raised my concerns to my husband about a spark from a tractor, combine, etc., but he does not share my concern. I thought if I had some professional feedback on the matter, that he would recognize the extent of the problem better.

Shiawassee County Michigan trees and shrubs fire

1 Response

Hello,

I would consult with your local fire department on the fire hazard issue. Here are some publications related to fire risk in the landscape, with recommended practices. Removing dead wood in trees is one of the recommended practices.

http://msue.anr.msu.edu/resources/wildfire_resistant_landscape_plants_for_michigan_e2948

http://www.auburn.edu/academic/forestry_wildlife/lpsdl/livingfire/LIVING_WITH_FIRE.pdf

Dead branches on any tree can be hazardous. They will more easily fall and may also harbor undesirable insects or fungi. While this isn’t usually an issue in a forest, it can pose risks when near homes or near areas people use.

Colorado blue spruce tend to become diseased as they mature because they are not well suited to Michigan. Removing the dying branches can extend the useful life of the remaining trees. The dead areas will never ‘grow back’. We recommend hiring an arborist to assess the trees on site, and give you a care plan, or help you decide when it is time to remove the trees. You can search for arborists in your zip code here- www.treesaregood.org

Correctly pruning the branches will also extend the life of the trees. We recommend hiring professionals to cut anything that you can not reach by standing on the ground.

Here is a link that shows correct procedures, should you need it-PDF page 21 (text page 19) shows how to prune without damaging the tree-

https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5368392.pdf

If you decide to replace some trees, we have lists of evergreens that are more disease resistant and are good replacements for blue spruce.

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