What Disease does my evergreens have? what can I do

Asked June 24, 2018, 9:13 PM EDT

My dad has a number of fairly new, last 13 years or newer trees that are showing signs of a disease. They are starting to lose needles and turn brown towards the middle of the branches and part of the tree. It appears to be happening mid-way or towards the top of the tree not near the bottom. Upper 2/3 thirds. Some of them have a white substance coming from the trunk as well but I don't think all of them have it. I will attach a couple photos. One what is the disease? Two what can we do to help avoid the spread or to help the trees? Will it spread to all of them as currently only a couple in the line are showing this.

Wright County Minnesota

3 Responses

It is hard to tell what kind of tree you have - fir or spruce - from the photos. My guess is that they are Colorado blue spruce. If so, they have a serious rhizosphaera needle cast infection, a very common CBS disease, and a reason we do not recommend growing CBS in Minnesota. Read here:

The white substance on the trunk could be cytospora canker, another common CBS disease, and another reason we do not recommend growing them in Minnesota:

But, as I said, I can't tell for sure from the photos even if the tree is CBS, so perhaps you should have a certified arborist look at your trees:

You can also go to this diagnostic website:

They are both Colorado Blue Spruce and Black Hills Spruce. Can we send in a sample of the branches to confirm the disease? If so can you provide some guidance?

can you send me a few more photos. i am looking for one or two that has the base of the tree where it meets the soil line. also is it wet in the area where the spruce are? what is the planting spacing?
most conifers do not like wet feet (they like well drained soils) and they are all claustrophobic (when needles start to touch from nearby trees they have a tendency to shed those needles and grow up. since this is happening inside out and midway up that is not the normal response to crowding. stress (water etc) will cause cytospora canker along with some other pathogens. lets get a photo of the base of the trees and go from there. please bypass eXtension and email me directly at randallj@iastate.edu