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Alberta Spruce
Losing Needles

Q: I am having some problems with my 3 dwarf alberta spruce trees. I believe that the 3 trees are relatively new, I just moved into the house recently. As per the neighbor they were planted within a couple of years.

dwarf alberta spruce tree The trees look like they are either dying or diseased. I am not sure and have little to no experience with trees. I have been watering them and also gave them some fertilizer thinking that would help. I have seen little to no progress.

They are losing needles at the end of the branches in certain areas. Other areas are flourishing and have a lot of new growth. What can it be?

I have not seen any sign of mites.
Thanks Erica

A: Spider mites might have been involved in this scenario, although I doubt they caused all the damage seen in the photos. If they did, you had a very severe infestation that's been there for a couple years or more.

sprcue tree needles

Quite likely, you "inherited" plants that (pick 1, 2, 3 or all 4 of the below critical factors):

1) Weren't quality plants to begin with;

2) Weren't properly cared for before they were planted;

3) Weren't properly planted;

4) Weren't properly cared for after they were planted.

What this all adds up to is to always purchase good quality plants, make sure they were taken care of properly before you purchase them, install them properly, and take care of them properly after you install them.

Since you just moved into this house, you have no idea about how any of these critical factors may be figuring in here. They may have been good quality plants but they weren't cared for properly.

It sounds (and looks) like you might be too late to save these plants. Sometimes plants are just too far gone to be able to save, and if your spruces were already in a severe state of decline, there is probably little chance they will respond to your efforts.

My recommendation is to start over. Don't forget: buy quality plants, install them properly, and care for them properly afterward. This is the only way to give your plants the best chance of surviving.

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Tom Mugridge

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