Blue Spruce Problems

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by GravelyGuy, Sep 9, 2009.

  1. GravelyGuy

    GravelyGuy LawnSite Silver Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 2,538

    Anyone have an idea what is wrong with this tree? The brown color may be caused by the the sprinkler system. Everything on this property is brown from the heavy iron in the water, but you can see that this tree is also very thin on the North side where the brown is.

    Maybe the sprinklers are hitting this spot and causing this?

    You can also see that the tree has a lot of sap dripping down the trunk if this makes any difference.

    Jay Tree 003.jpg

    Jay Tree 004.jpg

    Jay Tree 002.jpg
  2. GravelyGuy

    GravelyGuy LawnSite Silver Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 2,538

    The stripes I laid in the background of the first pic look pretty damn good haha.:laugh:
  3. FYS777

    FYS777 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,305

  4. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,170

    I am by no means a tree expert but when I see sap and brown thin spots it immediatly makes me think insects. Couldn't tell you which though. I am sure someone else on here can give you more insight though.
  5. VO Landscape Design

    VO Landscape Design LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Mt. Pleasant Ia.
    Messages: 365

    I am thinking Spider Mites. Had that look on the neighbors evergreens.
  6. GravelyGuy

    GravelyGuy LawnSite Silver Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 2,538

    This could be it, but it says that it starts around the bottom in the link. You can see this didn't start at the very bottom. They even mention the white sap that I have pictured though. Hmm.

    Wouldn't you see the tiny little webs?

    Thank for the help guys.
  7. GrazerZ

    GrazerZ LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 670

    Looks like spruce needle cast. the irrigation could make the problem worse. If thats what it is, it can spread to other trees and needs treatment with fungicide.
  8. Think Green

    Think Green LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,746

    I have seen these signs before on other species of Picea around here and it sounds funny, but similar problems are found on our southern white pines.
    The Picea has a shallow root system by growth habits and is succeptible to urban problems of overfertilization, excessive water, compaction, competition from surrounding turfgrass and herbicide injury. I don't single out any one thing that leads to the health and death of trees in heavily manicured lawns. This is a no-no and leads to bad communication and reputation with good customers. There is no way to point fingers at one thing or cause that is fault for this disease.
    The common problems with the Picea is Rhizosphaera needle cast, Cytospora Canker, and Lirula Needle Cast. The sapping from the tree, as it usually occurs half way down on the truck, can be the Cytospora as it is blocking the sap resin ducts and the disease is causing pressure within the growth rings..........the pressure will come out somewhere. Without adequate sap flow, the needles will turn brown, meanwhile after a few years of enduring this disease, the tree will give up because of the lack of energy and resin flow.
    After cutting the tree down, you will notice the growth rings at the base will be darkened as if a dye was placed in there. The times that I have cut them down, I thought it was flat head borer damage........! There wasn't any entry holes or exit wounds to prove it. All that was visible is excessive resin buildup around scars on the exterior of the bark. The branches were as if they were dried out in the sun from lack of resin flow.
    The way I see it is this:
    You, ME, and all other LCO's see these problems in our own customers lawns. What do you do?? My customer with the white pine's placed us in charge of preserving their trees. There is only so far you can go in maintaining them. I don't agree with bare root planting trees in the lawn setting even with these small beds around the bases, as there isn't enough bed to allow for good root expansion. Sometimes the expense of tree care isn't mentioned in the proposals. I injected the pines with fungisol and Oxytetracycline to maintain disease. The lawn is Zoysia--watered well--fertilized to the hilt--cut every week! The trees started declining after the 8th year of planting. I banged my head for weeks trying to research the problems from Aphids, spittlebugs, borer's, mite's, and all were of no avail. The trees died anyway. It is hard to explain to customer's that trees that grow in the woods are healthier because of the natural balance of Michorrizae and nutrients. The lawn setting is a detrimental life for all trees!!!!! Some will live and grow old..........most will just die from overexposure to everything done to the lawn.
    All my words here aren't say the least..............all I want to advocate is this tree is under extreme stress and I don't feel that it is aphids, mites, MLO's, nematode's or anything else other than internal disease from within.
    I like to be wrong.........but mostimes, we cut the trees down anyway and the proof is in the heartwood. Since these trees are ring holding a thousand straws in a bundle, the sap is often restricted to something!!! This disease is a killer!!!!
  9. GravelyGuy

    GravelyGuy LawnSite Silver Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 2,538

    Good reading, thank you. You guys are good.

    This particular lawn is fertilized and irrigated heavily. Fortunately, I'm off the hook on this tree. I only take care of the lawn apps at this property anways. TGCL does the trees, but apparently they didn't have an answer for the guy so I posted on here to get some info from you guys.

    If it doesn't get any better I'm sure I'll be the one replacing it and I'll pay attention to it when I cut it down.

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