Blue spruce problem

Discussion in 'Fertilizers, Pesticides and Diseases' started by Lawnappmo, Jul 15, 2016.

  1. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,290


    All that mulch is what is killing that tree........
  2. upidstay

    upidstay LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Messages: 1,584

  3. LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    That is Needlecast disease. No cure, but proper slow watering at the base will help. The disease likes high humidity and the tree can't fight it off with drought conditions.
  4. Kslavs13

    Kslavs13 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    Here's my x-ray vision Mark

    This was a Japanese maple buried in mulch like the spruce we're talking about. We air spaded it to remove the excess mulch and it had about 4 girdling roots I had to remove. We air spade all the time and more often than not trees that have been volcano mulched for years have girdling roots. Doesn't matter if the customer has mulched within the last five years if it's been buried for ten years.


    hort101 likes this.
  5. LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    Maples of every variety will girdle themselves. Excess mulch or over burying. (Same thing to the tree) causes this as a critical gas exchange goes on at the root flair. The Spruce is an upper elevation tree. It prefers rocky, well draining soil and lower humidity. In clay or lower elevations they usually do fine until they get 10 to 20 years of struggle, then needle cast leaves them with only blue tips!
  6. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,290

    As Treedoc stated, different trees, different situation.

    Maples are susceptible to girdling roots whether they are mulched, volcano mulched or not mulched at all.

    Here's another result of volcano mulch:

    No girdling roots.

    But again, the issue is the blue spruce does not have girdling roots. It is planted high and on a berm. And no mulch for several years. And Colorado blues are very susceptible to needlecast and cytospora. Colorado blue spruce belong in Colorado.
  7. Trees Too

    Trees Too LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,907

    The original photo show no evidence of excessive mulching. Just what appears to be a mounded root ball with a lot of fallen needles on it.

    Girdling roots? Is that ever an issue with any type of evergreen? :confused:

    Colorado spruces are disease prone, (e.g. needle cast, cytorpera), in the Midwest, due to the stress from the humid summers. They prefer the arid climate of the Rocky Mtn region.
    Mark Oomkes likes this.
  8. naughty62

    naughty62 LawnSite Senior Member
    from iowa
    Messages: 369

    Most likely rhizo. needle cast or a look a like stigmina Needle cast.Look it up and the learn to I.D. by the rows of black fruiting fungus in the stamatas of the needles common .
  9. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,358


    Here is a link to Silvics of North America Conifers :

    Open the link, and on the left side, scroll down to Picea pungens (Blue Spruce) and click on that.

    Read up on the Habitat, Climate, Soils and Topography, ect. of this Conifer.

    When you understand these facts, it will be more clear as to why your specimen is under such stress. Do your homework.

    Then you can send samples to your Local Cooperative Extension or University for accurate Diagnosis, as this would be good practice for you, as well as Professional as a Tree Care company.

  10. Marine03112

    Marine03112 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,256

    Spider mites would have been my first guess. But that's here in PA. I would then send a sample to my extension. Gl.

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