The Q&A Archives: white sticky stuff on trunk of spruce tree

Question: My 7' tall spruce tree is sickly, with needles falling off the bottom half of the tree. I don't see any spider webs on it. The trunk has several spots of white sticky stuff on it. Overall, the tree looks terrible--droopy. I have sprayed the tree with Neem because of the possibility of spider mites. Any other suggestions? Should I fertilize it or what? Thank you.

Answer: It sounds more like a root problem than an insect problem. The sticky stuff is probably sap, an indication of an injury - perhaps borers or damage from a weed whacker, etc. Or, it could be excessive sap exuded due to heat. But, the droopy, off color needles and the dropping needles really sound like root stress. Water deeply once a week throughout the growing season to keep your spruce healthy. Don't fertilize at this point - wait until the tree is healthy enough to put out new growth. Next spring you can feed it lightly.

Best wishes with your spruce!

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