|I have a green spruce (about 7' tall) planted two summers ago. I noticed last summer that some of the needles toward the inside of the tree (near the trunk) had turned a rusty-brown color. They did not fall off the tree, and one year later, are still there. Clearly, they are dead. The tree has put on a tremendous amount of new growth, and the new growth since the original planting is free any rusty needles. I plan to trim some of the sparse, ragged bottom branches out of the tree this season. Is this something that sounds familiar? There is no sign of insects, no holes in the trunk, etc. However, after the first winter in the ground, I noted some sap hardened on the trunk. I have not noted this sap in subsequent years. Any ideas?