Hardiness Zone: 5a
Shirley from Kenosha County, WI
That said, there is some new mystery disease showing up in black, blue and white spruce trees across Minnesota and Wisconsin this year. Needle drop and chlorosis (lightened needle color) are two of its symptoms, but I'm unclear as to whether of not the disease progresses from the bottom of the tree to the top (as happens in most cases), or if the reverse is true. You might want to take a picture, and if possible snip off a portion of a dying branch and submit it to the University of Wisconsin Extension Agency for testing. uwex.edu
Like animals, all trees do eventually grow old and die. As they get older, they become more susceptible to storms, disease and pests, which ultimately take their toll. Unlike animals, vital functions are not controlled by a central nervous system. Instead, vital functions in trees are decentralized. This means that a large part of the tree can die off (and routinely it does), without the entire tree being killed off.
My best advice is to call in a professional arborist. Contact your country extension agency for recommendations.
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Go to your garden center and buy some Miracle-Gro. We had a huge arborvitae that had leaves that turned brown from using too much rock salt. Follow the directions on the box and hopefully your tree will be revived. Lots of luck.
Thanks very much, Ellen. This tree has a lot of sentimental as well as environmental value to me. I'm relieved to know that this might not kill the whole tree, but I can see it progressing down the trunk. Right now it's gone about 10 feet down from the top. I'll call the extension office, but I won't be able to get a sample from 40 feet up. I really appreciate your expert advice. (12/08/2006)
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