Alberta Spruce Bush - Knowledgebase Question

Laurel, Ne
Avatar for jobrien51
Question by jobrien51
March 12, 2010
I have several Alberta Spruce bushes around the back of my house. Two winters ago one of these bushes slowly turned brown from top to botttom. In the spring the bush had died. This past fall and winter this same thing is happening to another Alberta Spruce bush. These bushes are abou three years old and are approximately 4 1/2 feet tall. Please advise how I can prevent this problem.

Answer from NGA
March 12, 2010
It's really difficult to diagnose a plant problem without seeing the plant. I have my suspicions, though. Poorly draining soils can suffocate the roots and cause the symptoms you describe. A compromised root system will show symptoms from the top to the bottom of the tree: diseases usually show up at the bottom and work their way up to the top. You may be able to save the only surviving tree by digging it up, amending the soil so it drains quickly yet holds some moisture, and replanting. Check the root system when you have it out of the ground. Healthy roots are creamy white inside - dead or dying roots will be a rusty color, or black/brown and mushy. Prune away any dead or diseased roots before replanting. Best wishes with your spruce!

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