Spruces with issues
Hi. I have two large spruces that are having issues. Lower branches progressively losing needles and dying. I think it is needle cast? Is there any effective way to treat this? Should I pay somebody to come spray them? Thanks.
This looks like a blue spruce. These trees are susceptible to fungal diseases when stressed due to poor site conditions, drought, etc.
Blue spruce are susceptible to fungal diseases such as
Cytospora canker http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/cytospora-canker-spruce and Rhizosphaeria needlecast. http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/evergreen-needle-cast-diseases-trees-and-shrubs
This season we have received many questions on needlecast and this is most likely what you are dealing with.
Blue spruce, in general, are not really well suited for our area as they are native to climates further to the north. For the above diseases all you can do is prune bare branches during dry weather and keep the trees well watered during dry periods. No fungicides are recommended. Eventually you will have to replace the trees. Take the opportunity to replace the tree with a native species matching the plant to the site and mature height and width.
Also, here is our blog post on blue spruce https://marylandgrows.umd.edu/2018/01/08/whats-wrong-with-my-blue-spruce-tree/