Needles dropping from Blue Spruce

Asked October 8, 2018, 3:59 PM EDT

Hi, I’m a homeowner in Howard County with a 5 year old blue spruce that has started to drop needles over this summer. Attached are photos of the tree and needles. I’d greatly appreciate any advise on combatting the disease that appears to be infecting this tree. Thanks!

Howard County Maryland disease issues blue spruce trees leucostoma canker cytospora canker on spruce young blue spruce dropping needles young blue spruce

1 Response

Colorado blue spruce are not well adapted to Maryland, but planted widely because they are so attractive. Usually they live 20-30 years and die of cytospora canker. You will notice many dying from the bottom up as you drive around.

Stress makes them susceptible to this canker. Look through this carefully: http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/cytospora-canker-spruce
In your tree's case, it may be the abnormally wet, soggy soil conditions of this year (and last spring) that stressed it and made it susceptible to cytospora, based on the copious sap flow in your third photo.

This wet summer has also caused a lot of fungal disease, and many spruce are losing needles from needle case diseases: http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/evergreen-needle-cast-diseases-trees See the management options at the bottom.

ECN