how can you tell if a dwarf alberta spruce is dead? - Knowledgebase Question

Columbia, MO (Zone 5B)
Avatar for bashashhazba
Question by bashashhazba
August 22, 2005
i live in mid-missouri. this past summer heat caused my two dwarf alberta spruces to go brown. the one still has a couple of branches that are green but overall they both look dead. i hate to lose the plants and i am reluctant to pull them up without knowing for sure. do the plants pull their moisture into the roots to save themselves?
is there some way to tell for certain if they are dead?

Answer from NGA
August 22, 2005
Unfortunately based on your description things do not sound good at all. They may have suffered from transplant shock or from either over or underwatering or possibly a pest or disease problem such as spruce mites. They do not pull back as a defense. If they lose a majority of their needles they are a lost cause. These trees do not refoliate on bare branches so the bare parts will stay bare. If you replace them, try to determine what happened so you can take steps as needed to make sure it does not repeat with the replacements. Your local county extension or a professionally trained and certified nurseryman may be able to help you trouble shoot, and if your new plants do not look good try to get help sooner rather than later. I'm sorry I can't be more encouraging.

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