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dwarf alberta spruce on last leg

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by guntruck, Jul 21, 2001.

  1. guntruck

    guntruck LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 527

    I planted 4 alberta spruces about two months ago. Three are looking ok but one is dead!! I just noticed when we did the lawn this week. One of the other three is starting to brown in an area or two. The thing looks as dry as a bone when i touched it the needles just fell to the ground leaving all the brown twigs there, what an aweful site. The homeowner waters all the time this i know, he is an avid gardener with some experiance under his belt so i know he isnt over watering. My question is i know these things are prone to spider mites( i think) does it sound like thats what this is? Or does it sound like something else? Is there a spray that can be put on them by the homeowner to help or should i just replace the dead one and cross my fingers? Should i expect the nursery to replace the shrub? Thanks guys
  2. Finecut

    Finecut LawnSite Member
    from IL
    Posts: 177


    Very, very finicky creatures those Dwarf Alberta Spruce. The best thing I've found is ...fill 5 gallon bucket with water...5 scoops Mir-acid, put that in a sprinkling can and slowly empty on trees. If you spray the trees you'll have much better luck than putting a hose at the base and watering them. You may be able to save the last three...all the dead stuff will take years to fill back in. These trees wind burn very easily and as beautiful as they are, sure take a great deal of work to sustain.

    It depends on what agreement you have had with the nursery. You might ask them if they would stop by and look at the trees, they may just tell you they will replace them. If they feel that they haven't been properly taken care of...best plan on paying up. This is why you must add a health mark-up to nursery stock.

    A great subsitute for Dwarf Alberta Spruce are Holmstrup Arborvitae...these trees are not quite as eye appealing as Dwarf Alberta Spruce, they are much hardier.
  3. Kevintree

    Kevintree LawnSite Member
    Posts: 18

  4. greens1

    greens1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 352

    This time of year I would say there is a 90% chance that the problem is spider mites. Dwarf Alberta Spruce love dry conditions, rarely have I ever seen one die from underwatering.

    Cheak the branches with a hand lens. If you see small dots that are moving arround, especially small red dots aka southern red mite, then you need to spray or hire a CPA to spray for you.

    Water will wash off existing mites, but will do nothing for the mites hatching out later.

    Jim L
  5. guntruck

    guntruck LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 527

    Thanks for the info gentleman, i really appreciate it. I will have the others sprayed or is there something the local supplier might have i can tell the homeowner to get to spray if it happens again? Thanks

    SCAPEASAURUSREX LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 835

    I'm not too up with my insects and when the attack. But up here in North Jersey I am seeing alot of Dwarf Alberta Spruces in dispair. I guess this is when they like to eat them.since it's the hottest & dryest time of the year. What do you use to spray them with as far as insecticides go ??
  7. arpat2

    arpat2 LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Posts: 35

    I have the same problem with my Alberta Spruce. Originally I used Isotox by Ortho. You have to treat it at least every two weeks. That got to be a pain so I used Hexygon a WP it is an ovacide and miticide, so it kills the eggs too. It can only be applied once a crop season. Very Powerful stuff. I used it in conjuction with AVID. The shrub started to push green so I stopped treatment. Big mistake. It started browning again. Now that it is getting cooler in Northern NJ I will apply a dormant oil and start treatment again in the early spring. The Hexygon is very expensive, but you use very little per treatment. The spruce is about 250-300 to replace. If I had realized that they were this prone to insects I would have chosen another plant material.

    Good Luck,

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