When you first see browning needles on lower branches, and bluish-white resin flowing from them, prune branches back to the next lateral branch at least four inches from the affected area. Knowing how to tell if a blue spruce is dying or not is essential. For tall trees, hire a professional to safely treat the tree crown. The disease can cause dying, though it’s not a death sentence for the tree. Ensure that your trees are sufficiently watered, especially during extended periods of drought. As a result, bottom needles die to help hydrate the rest of the tree. However, you need professional help to treat some of the diseases that kill spruce trees. Immature sawflies resemble a small green caterpillar with a yellow or reddish head. Spruce trees have shallow root systems and become stressed during drought, making them vulnerable to insect damage. Fungicides should be applied when the new needles are half-elongated (in late April or early May), and again three to four weeks later. Can you save a dying blue spruce? Common pine tree diseases include Rhizosphaera needle cast and Cytospora canker fungus. The first step in knowing whether your tree needs treatment or not is to determine what's ailing it. Gall adelgids. If you see a cotton-like substance on the tree's branches (these are the insects' egg sacs), the tree is infested by gall adelgids. You can protect your tree from winter burn by planting one or two rows of windblocking trees on the prevailing wind side. Keep the Christmas spirit alive year-round by adding blue spruce (Picea pungens) to your landscape. In drought-like conditions, evergreens may have trouble getting enough water to all their needles. The end of a spruce tree branch covered in snow. They'll return in spring. jordannah36. Tip. Saving a dying spruce tree means identifying the ailment and treating it accordingly. Left untreated, cytospora works its way up the tree killing branches as it goes. Ensure that sprinklers aren't splashing on your tree to help stave off rust infections. Sawfly damage is seen from about mid-May through July. Affected branches should be pruned in the winter when the tree is dormant; pruning branches is the primary method of treating trees showing symptoms of Cytospora canker fungus. Diana K. Williams is a certified Master Gardener, has more than a decade of experience as an environmental scientist, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and environmental studies from the Ohio Northern University. What is killing my blue spruce? By creating an account you agree to the Hunker, Montana State University Extension: Growing Spruce Trees in Montana, University of Minnesota Extension: Spruce Needle Rust, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources: Diseases of Spruce Trees in Minnesota, University of Florida IFAS Extension: Disinfecting Pruning Tools, University of Minnesota: Yellowheaded Spruce Sawfly, Clemson University Extension: Insecticidal Soaps for Garden Pest Control, California Polytechnic State University: A Tree Selection Guide. Soil should be well-drained and rich in organic matter, and it's important to keep the soil slightly moist when the plant is young. You can also apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of your tree to improve soil quality and maintain moisture. If left untreated, it can severely defoliate and kill a tree in three to four years. When you first see browning needles on lower branches, and bluish-white resin flowing from them, prune branches back to the next lateral branch at least four inches from the affected area. Some problems in spruces clear themselves up in time without help from you, but others need to be chemically treated. Her work has been published in Forbes, USA Today, Fodor's, Marriott Traveler, SAS Airlines, the Austin American-Statesman, Austin Monthly, and dozens of other print and online publications. The most effective approach is to maintain the health and vitality of your trees. Yellowheaded spruce sawfly and spruce budworm feed on new foliage on white, blue and black (Picea mariana) spruce trees. Asked June 6, 2018, 8:09 PM EDT ... Blue spruce grown in our humid climate are susceptible to several fungal diseases which make them unsightly after 15 or 20 years.
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