Alberta Spruce Damage

Asked September 7, 2018, 6:34 PM EDT

This spruce, at a home in West Ocean City, MD, is roughly 7’ tall and had no noticeable damage anywhere on it until his past week. Since then it has been quickly browning in patches, beginning at the tips. The tree sits across a walkway from an identical tree that is still completely healthy. Any ideas? Mites??

Worcester County Maryland

1 Response

This may be spider mites, which are extremely common on Alberta spruce. Read through our webpage on spider mites:

Check for spider mites as described on the webpage. If you do not see many of the slow-moving spruce spider mites, then another possibility could be weather related.

Much of Maryland has experienced so much rain this spring-summer that plants have drowned or died of root rots. It's possible, depending on the weather you've experienced, that this spruce is sitting is saturated soil and that is damaging it. If you suspect this, try to change the grade to drain water away from it better.

Keep in mind that mulch should never be piled on or touching the base of a plant. It should be no more than 2-3" deep. Pulling back and thinning the mulch may help dry sodden soil.