Spruce Tree Problem - Pictures

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  #1  
Old 06-17-06, 09:02 AM
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Location: Southern Ontario, Canada
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Spruce Tree Problem - Pictures

We have a spruce tree that is about 20-25ft tall in our front yard, I am in zone 5 and in good old clay.......for the past two summers I have noticed that the branches at the lower bottom to middle of one side of the tree have dropped all their needles and are bare, the tree looks hideous in the landscape, but being in the open the birds love it and it provides protection from the snow in the winter time. There are no visible markings or holes in and around the trunk.
I was wondering if anyone knew what would be wrong? I spiked it with fertilizer last season and thought maybe it was lacking in nutirents...to no avail....Although we are in clay the tree faces south and gets a lot of sun, water is not a problem in that area.
The tree is watered during dry seasons.
There are three large maple trees in front some are shading part of the tree, could this be the problem? there is ample new growth near the top and the other side as you can see by pictures. Roots are not exposed and it sits about 15ft from the foundation wall.
There are no signs of bugs, worms, white pitch on the bark, rust or scale.
I am thinking of cutting off all the lower branches to about 6ft off the ground, sealing with pruning paint and bringing the flower beds around the bottom, installing a bench and planting perennials at the base, I just cant stand looking at it anymore...any suggestions or further help would be appreciated.

Thanks

Pic #1 Is the front view of the tree, note how sparse it is getting throughout the middle and bottom

Pic #2 Bottom of tree at the front where the problem started

Pic #3 Other side of the tree, seems to be ok note the large maples in front

Pic #4 Lower innner branches, just strating to drop and lose needles.

http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f3...e-mailview.jpg

http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f3...e-mailview.jpg

http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f3...e-mailview.jpg

http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f3...erbranches.jpg
 
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  #2  
Old 06-17-06, 10:15 AM
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Location: Maryland zone 7
Posts: 1,716
Hi Gmcladee.

Great photos and good description. There are two possibilities that come to mind here.

Cytospora Canker:
http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/3000/3033.html

Rhizosphaera needle cast. The third link is specifically for blue spruce, but all spruce can get this. You might be able to see the fruiting bodies with a small magnifying glass.
http://www.extension.umn.edu/project...maintrees.html
http://www.extension.umn.edu/project...maintrees.html
http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Pag...dle%20Cast.htm

Until you know exactly what is going on with your tree, I wouldn't suggest stressing it more with the plans you have. Definately DO NOT seal the cuts with anything. You could be sealing in disease. Let the tree heal the wound. Planting at the base can only further stress the tree. If you decide to remove the lower limbs (one of those sites will show you what it looks like) I wouldn't suggest planting there. Do check to see that the rootflare on this tree isn't buried.
http://www.tlcfortrees.info/planting%20depth.htm
http://www.treesaregood.com/treecare/mulching.aspx

If none of what I have given you fits I would suggest a consult with a certified arborist that does diagnostics.

Newt
 
  #3  
Old 06-19-06, 04:13 PM
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Thanks Newt for the info, i am tending to lean towards Rhizosphaera needle cast it seems to fit the description better, however i will take pictures into the nurseries this week and let an arboroist check them out also, will repost when i find out,
Thanks again.
 
  #4  
Old 06-19-06, 06:00 PM
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Maryland zone 7
Posts: 1,716
You are so very welcome! I would love to know what you find out.

Newt
 
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