How To Save A Dying Blue Spruce

Green spruce, White spruce, Colorado Blue Spruce, or simply Colorado Spruce are several names for blue spruce. Because of its adaptability, the tree is an excellent complement to your landscaping plans, as the Blue Spruce can withstand strong winds.

Whether you want to cultivate Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens) for its silvery-blue leaves or white spruce, these tough evergreen trees can resist freezing temperatures and winter winds but are picky about poor planting practices.

They become sensitive to infections may appear to be dying when they aren’t if they aren’t planted in the appropriate conditions. So, the first step in rescuing your tree is to figure out which is the situation.

Cytospora canker disease is the most common cause of death in blue spruce trees. Rhizosphaera needle cast diseases where blue spruce needles turn yellow then turn brown. White Pine Weevils and Bark Beetles are among the pests that attack the Blue Spruce tree.

blue spruce

In our guide, you can learn more about how to tell if a Blue Spruce is dying. By the end, you’ll have enough information to know what kills the tops of spruce trees and the treatment you need for your conifers without seeking professional help.

Why Are My Blue Spruce Trees Dying?

To successfully treat your blue spruce trees, you must first determine what is causing it stress. When evergreen trees are stressed, they don’t hold back in displaying signs of distress. If you don’t see many healthy trees in your area, chances are, your pine can yellow and turn brown or lose needles like the others. (Read Do Succulents Like Humidity)

Browning of a piece of affected branches or the entire tree is the most prevalent symptom that your evergreen tree is stressed and perhaps dying.

The following information will assist you in determining and naming the cause of your tree’s fall and the best course to take to treat the affected tree.

Here are some of the common ailments your blue spruce tree can face.

1. Needle Cast

This disease is exceedingly widespread in conifers and manifests itself in various ways in trees. Needle cast can quickly develop and spread to neighboring trees planted on your property if not addressed.

Here are the three signs that your evergreen is infected with needle cast:

  • Browning or chlorosis is the loss or abnormal reduction of green color in the infected needles.
  • An extensive drop of pine needles.
  • Dieback and no new foliage.
  • A tree is bald internally and won’t produce new shoots.

2. Rusts

The illness is named for the brilliantly colored orange to rusty brown spores that are visible when this family of fungi’s “raised blisters” break apart.

If any of the following signs are present, quick action should be done to control and prevent the disease from spreading:

  • The foliage is covered in a rust-colored “powder.”
  • On twigs and branches, there are often brilliantly colored swellings or galls.

3. Environmental Factors



Roots are damaged and die because of a lack of moisture. When feeder roots and root hairs die, the tree experiences a water deficit since these roots can no longer give enough water to the tree’s upper branches.

Drought also fosters the growth of secondary infestations or diseases.

Drought symptoms may not appear in your blue spruce tree for up to two years after the event. They can include:

  • Heavy leaf or needles drop.
  • Drooping, wilting, yellow, or brown colors emerge.
  • Needles turn brown at the tips.
  • Cracks in the bark on the trunk.
  • Dieback.
  • Thinning Canopy.

Unfortunately, there isn’t any cure for drought, but it can be managed. Here are some preventative steps to reduce the effects:

  • To minimize subsequent infestations and diseases, prune back your trees of dead or brown sections of the tree canopy.
  • Once a week, give the tree a deep watering. Let the water reach a depth of 12 to 15 inches. Maintain thorough watering rather than multiple light waterings.
  • Give the tree a final heavy soaking in late fall before heavy ground frost to help it avoid winter drought.
  • Mulch, the root spread region, to assist the soil to retain moisture.

winter injury

Winter Injury

Evergreens are especially susceptible to winter damage. When temperatures fluctuate abnormally during the fall, winter, and spring, this sort of injury happens.

Warming in the fall, freezing in the late spring, or unusually cold winters can all be harmful.

Winter damage is often not noticeable until the mid-to-late spring.

They include:

  • Dieback.
  • Off coloring such as browning or yellowing.
  • Split bark.
  • Heavy loss of foliage or needles.
  • Needle browning at the tip and midsection.

Like drought, there isn’t any cure for winter injury or severe winter burn, although you can help manage the damage:

  • To minimize subsequent infestations and disease, prune back all dead or diseased branches sections of the tree.
  • Make sure the tree gets a deep watering weekly.
  • Give the tree one deep watering before the ground freezes in late autumn to help it survive the winter.
  • Provide physical protection from the elements, such as the wind and harsh winter weather. Burlap wraps are a good option.
  • Your geographical location influences your tree’s health. Learn about the unique species and ideal growing conditions for Zone 9 evergreen trees if you live in USDA Zones 9 and 10.

Can You Save A Dying Spruce Tree?

To ensure you don’t end up with a dead spruce tree, here are a couple of things you can do to help your tree survive fungal disease or common pests. (Read Fungus Gnats Hydrogen Peroxide Guide)

Needle Cast Treatment

Keep in mind that most fungicides work best when applied to emerging needles or fresh foliage before symptoms show. The following tips will assist you in dealing with needle cast on your spruce trees:

  • Dead branches, twigs, and sick portions of the tree should all be pruned away to increase air flow around the tree’s lower branches.
  • Remove and eliminate any falling foliage. Don’t add to your compost pile.
  • After eradicating any symptoms of infection, spray the tree with a fungicide.
  • Once a week, give the tree a deep watering to help it recover from stress.

Rusts Treatment

As previously mentioned, most fungicides are most effective when applied to fresh foliage or before symptoms show, as previously stated. The following tips will assist you in dealing with rust disease:

  • First, prune dead branches, twigs, and infected tree areas.
  • Next, remove fallen foliage and burn it. Do not add to compost piles.
  • Apply a fungicide to the tree after removing signs of infestation or infection in lower branches.
  • Deep water the tree once per week to help it recover from the stress.

Treat Blue Spruce Cytospora Canker?

Cytospora canker in spruce trees has no known cure. You can spot symptoms on lower branches. There could be white sap leaking from the cankers on infected branches.

To avoid illness, keep your tree healthy. Fungicidal treatment is not recommended because it is ineffective against fungal pathogens, and your tree could die after several years.

  • To treat your Blue Spruce, start pruning and eliminating affected branches. Getting rid of the condition takes time. Remember to prune only when the weather is dry.
  • After working on an infected tree, cut at least 12 inches below the canker and disinfect your tools.
  • Plant trees that are appropriate for your area. It is not suggested to cultivate Blue Spruce in some regions.
  • Cytospora canker disease is more easily spread among weaker trees. As a result, strive to provide your Blue Spruce with adequate irrigation and soil.
  • To limit the transmission of spores, only prune your trees while the foliage is dry.

How Do You Revive A Dying Blue Spruce?

The ability to save a browning evergreen depends on how soon the tree was diagnosed and what triggered the browning. (Read Avocado Leaves Turning Brown)

If your evergreen isn’t already dead, as described in the remedies above, the following will help it recover:

  • To minimize subsequent infestations and disease, prune back all tree dead or diseased sections. In some circumstances, substantial pruning or removing a piece of the tree may be required.
  • Here, a tree expert should be contacted to assess the degree of the damage and provide guidance on how to proceed.
  • Deep water the tree once a week in well-drained soil, enabling water to reach 12 to 15 inches down. This frequency may be in soil with a high clay component every two weeks.
  • Multiple mild waterings will promote roots to grow towards the surface, so avoid this.
  • Before the earth hardens or freezes, give the tree one last good watering in late autumn.
  • Mulch the region where the roots are spreading to keep the soil moist. This will also aid the soil’s ability to keep heat during the winter months.
  • Check the pH and content of the soil. Make any necessary alterations to meet the tree’s requirements. Use lime or limestone-based chemicals to raise the pH. Organic material, aluminum sulfate, or sulfur can all be used to lower the pH.
  • Only fertilize in the spring and early summer. Fertilizing in the late summer or fall encourages growth that won’t have enough time to harden before winter. In addition, this type of new growth causes the tree undue stress.
  • Fungicides can prevent disease recurrence. Apply only after the tree’s damaged sections have been trimmed away.
  • During the winter season, provide physical protection for younger and recuperating trees using burlap or similar.

How To Save A Dying Blue Spruce (2)

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