Dead leader on blue spruce

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Woodland, Jul 30, 2007.

  1. Woodland

    Woodland LawnSite Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 207

    A client of mine has three blue spruces and two balsam firs in their back yard. One of the spruces is about 25' tall, the other four trees are 15' to 20' and all within 20' to 30' feet of each other. One of the blue spruces has a dead central leader. It seems like it is about the top foot or less. I haven't had chance to climb up to see the damage close up yet, but I did inspect the rest of the tree from ground level and there does not appear to be any other damage, nor to any of the other trees.

    My first thought was spruce budworm, but seems odd that with such a destructive pest, only one tree would be effected. Any thoughts to other culprits and what to look for when I do a closer inspection?
  2. supercuts

    supercuts LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,785

    not too far off in CT, but ive seen an unusual amount of winter kill from this past winter, with temps in january into the 70's. many beautiful mature trees just simply died this spring, small leaf boxwoods got hit real hard here and ive noticed alot of white pines with dead limbs up high. not sure if yours fits with just the main leader at the top dead.
  3. Woodland

    Woodland LawnSite Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 207

    I was at the house as late as three weeks ago doing some work and no signs of injury (obvious signs at least). I'm not sure when exactly it started to die or how fast since I'm going from a phone message and the homeowners are away for a few weeks.
  4. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,268

    White Pine Weevil.

    When you make the cut, it should be 6 inches below the dead tissue. The larve have prob. left and dropped down to the duff below the tree.

    If you carefully peel the bark away from the dead leader you should see the borer tunnels from this pest Larve stage which is may-july 4th(in new jersey)...mabey a bit later than the 4th in Maine. Here we spray the top 3 feet of trees where pest has populations are more than 1 tree/every 10 trees. Registered Insectide for your State. I like Onyx (bifenthrin) 2nd week of april on the first warm sunny days of the year. For you that may be end of April.

    Confirm best treatment, with your County Cooperative Extension Agent.

    Pete D.
  5. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,944

    If its a shoot tip moth larvae, when you cut if off, there should be an exit hole at the base of the dead, and a small tunnel hole running vertically.
  6. Woodland

    Woodland LawnSite Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 207

    Yikes! I wasn't aware that white pine weevil attacked spruces. I am tending to lean away from that conclusion as there is a row of white pines along the drive leading to the house and I don't recall any damage, but I'll check tomorrow to make sure.

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