Possible Blight on Spruce Trees

Asked October 15, 2018, 5:04 PM EDT

Hello;
I planted 3 spruce trees 15 years ago (they were supposed to be Blue Spruce). See Pic 1. I noticed the other day that on 2 of the trees the interior of branches were showing brown needles (Pic 2 & 3). Do I have a problem. Any advice/insights would be appreciated. I planted these when they were only about 12 inches and would hate to lose. Thank you

Carroll County Maryland disease issues blue spruce abiotic issues trees

1 Response

Unfortunately, blue spruce are not really well suited to our climate here. They look pretty great for 10 or even 20 years, and then begin to succumb to the stresses of growing out of their range. The demise of the trees is slow, but it does tend to cause dieback over time.
Like us when we are stressed, disease (or pests) can show up in various ways over time.
It's impossible to know all the factors for your particular case, but we wonder first off - your photo is not in focus if enlarged, but do we see some bagworms on the upper branches? They can damage trees if not stopped.
Here is our page on them: http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/bagworms-trees-and-shrubs
2nd, your grass looks good and almost weed free. Are there chemicals being applied over the root system of these trees?
and 3rd, sadly there are blights which can show up with time.
Here is a blog from our pathologist which discusses them:
https://marylandgrows.umd.edu/?s=blue+spruce

As we said, they won't die quickly, but you likely will not have them for a long, long time.
You could consider having an on-site consultation with with a tree health expert, a.k.a. a certified arborist to see what they feel your options are.
You can search for one at www.treesaregood.org

cm