Blue Spruce Under Stress

Asked July 16, 2019, 9:01 PM EDT

Please advise on what action I can take to treat my blue spruce trees that appear to be under stress. Thank you. Please see photos. Thank you Mary DePotter Commerce Township, MI

Oakland County Michigan

3 Responses


The two trees are crowding each other and the one next to the building has outgrown the area. This results in poor air circulation and competition for moisture and nutrients in the root zone. Poor air circulation can lead to fungal diseases on the needles, and root zone competition can lead to gradual decline and dieback.

The greenish crusty covering on the branches is lichen. They do not harm trees, they are just “perched” there.

Here is what you can do-

Redirect any sprinklers so they do not wet the trees’ needles. Water trees during droughts all the way around and without wetting needles- a soaker hose in a circle and shifted occasionally is a good idea. In fall, keep the tree watered until the ground has a hard freeze- you count rainfall in this, too. Most folks shut off their outside water system too early, and trees and shrubs- especially evergreens- go into winter too dry. If these trees have never been fertilized, consider doing so next spring. See-

And a soil test before fertilizing them is a good idea-

You can hire a certified arborist, a professional who has taken training in care, diseases, pests and passed certification tests. He/she will come on site and give a complete assessment and a plant care plan. Find certified arborists by zip code here-

Arborists can safely aerate the root zone and have the special equipment needed to do this, and to correctly prune the trees, if necessary. I hope this is helpful. Thanks for using our service.

Dear Laura,

Thank you so much for your reply to my questions regarding our blue spruce. I greatly appreciate the time you took to reply!

Thank you, Mary DePotter

You are welcome, glad to help!