Plant ID forum→What is this evergreen tree and what is wrong with it

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NJ
waavman
Nov 8, 2020 11:57 PM CST
Hi,
I have this evergreen tree outside my house. I live in New Jersey and my house is 17 years old and I bought it 2 years ago. I am sure this tree must have been planted nearly 15 years ago by the original owner because all trees in my front and back yard are pretty mature.
(1) However I am not sure what it this tree called. If you look at the attached pictures, It is the one growing vertically to the left side of the Japanese elm in front of the house window . So my 1st question would be what is the name of this tree ?

(2) My 2nd concern is , as you can see I have attached 2 pictures of this tree. In the 1st one from May this year 2020 you can see the tree is healthy and doing good. In the 2nd picture from this week in Nov 2020, you can see it is not doing good. All the leaves have fallen and you can see the dry needles at the base of the tree. Can you please advise what is going on with the tree. Is there something I can do to save this tree or is this a normal occurrence for this tree in the fall season.

(3) Does this species shed leaves in fall ? I thought this was an evergreen tree that continues to have leaves even in the winter . I notice a couple of holes around the base of this tree. Not sure if some bunny or something else has made burrows . Do you think that might have contributed to what is happening with the tree.

(4) Is there a life span associated with this species of tree ? If so it it nearing the end of its life span which is why it could be shedding its leaves like this.

(5) If it is not normal for this tree to be like this, please advise any checks I can do and any steps I could take to help revive the tree.

Kindly advise.
thanks
waavman


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Name: Sally
central Maryland
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sallyg
Nov 9, 2020 12:29 AM CST
Edited, not addressing the question
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)
[Last edited by sallyg - Nov 9, 2020 12:44 PM (+)]
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Perthshire. SCOTLAND. UK
Region: United Kingdom Garden Photography Plant Identifier
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Silversurfer
Nov 9, 2020 3:55 AM CST
Your tree is a conifer...which one at this stage is now irrelevant.
It should stay green all year.
For whatever reason your tree is not happy./dying.
It appears to be leaning towards the light and has lost the top shoot and is growing out sideways.Maybe to slow the growth down the previous owners cut the top off.(This is a really bad. idea..... it just makes tree distorted and ugly)

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Conifers are often very long lived, fast growing trees and many get enormous.
It is not the right tree to have next to your foundations.
If happy it would block all light from your window making your room very dark and dingy.

I recommend that you remove it asap..not suitable for position/tree is dying...find something more suitable for that corner.


[Last edited by Silversurfer - Nov 9, 2020 4:03 AM (+)]
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NJ
waavman
Nov 9, 2020 9:23 AM CST
The point of my question was not whether there will be enough light coming into my house.

The point of my Post is to find out from any conifer Plant expert why the tree ( I am guessing it could be a Weeping Cedar) is dying and what if any treatment can be given to it to revive it back because it was HEALTHY for the last 15 years. Only now 15 years later something happened to it mysteriously and i have no idea.

Any advise from Conifer plant experts on how to revive this tree would be greatly appreciated

Thanks
Missouri (Zone 6a)
Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Frillylily
Nov 9, 2020 9:47 AM CST
You could have 1 of 2 issues. You say you have little holes, are they about the size of a quarter? This may be a VOLE. Please google that to read up. Small rodent, they surface for food, unlike moles. You can trap them with a bucket and and mouse trap under it. IF this is the problem you will need to genttly rework some of the dirt around it to make sure all of the tunnels he made are refilled w soil. Exposed roots will kill plants.

Yes these trees do shed needles and grow new ones, but no they don't all drop off like you have there in the photo.


Or 2, Have you dug down a little around it to see the roots? I wonder if the roots have circled itself and is restricting water/nutrient flow and killing it. I had a red bud that did that, planted it and it grew fast, looked great for about 6 years, the 7th and 8th year it started dying. So we cut it down. We borrowed a tractor cause we didn't want the stump there, and when we dug it up you could easily see that the roots had grown around the base of the trunk just under the soil line effectively killing it.

Since conifers grow pretty slowly, it could take years for this condition to manifest itself. It is a possibility.

IF this is the issue, there is nothing you can do to save it.

I love plants in front of windows, it offers some privacy while still allowing you to still see out, and also on south windows can really help keep the room cooler. It is just a matter of preference and is really irrelevant to your question. There was no reason for others to comment their distaste for that in regards to your tree doing poorly.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
Nov 9, 2020 11:48 AM CST
I have had conifers severely damaged by bag worms. I see no evidence of them in your photos, but I thought it could be a possibility.
Porkpal
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Nov 9, 2020 12:12 PM CST
It looks like some kind of weeping spruce. For some reason, its dying - unfortunately, Spruce won't resprout from bare branches.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Kelly
Redding, California (Zone 9b)
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KellyFW
Nov 9, 2020 12:46 PM CST
Since there are areas of the tree that are still bright green I suspect it to be insect damage affecting the twigs. If it was a root issue I think the damage would be consistent over the tree.

Using a sharp knife open up some dead or dying buds at a branch tip. You may find moth larvae (white caterpillars) or damage caused by them with the insect already gone. Do the same with a twig, whittle it down to the pith, and see if there is evidence of insect damage such as a hollow center.

Also, it could be a fungus like a rust. Look on the dead/dying branches and see of you see areas of fungal spores. The spores could be white to bright orange.

If you see signs of insects or fungus there MAY be opportunities for saving it.
NJ
waavman
Nov 9, 2020 2:05 PM CST
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Thanks FrillyLilly for understanding the relevance of my post and addressing the issue in question and bringing my attention to the holes at the base of the tree.
Based on what KellyFW said I tried looking for spores / fungus / insects in the branches but could not find any.
So I am suspecting it could be something related to the holes at the base of the Tree that FrillyLilly highlighted which some animal might be digging.
Just for you to get an idea of the holes I have attached two more pictures of the holes around the base of the tree. I can see some animal is actively doing it because today I see some new holes that were not there a couple of days ago.
Just for you to get an idea of the size of the Holes i have placed a SHOE next to it. So the holes are probably around 4 inches wide and seem to have been burrowed down.
Kindly let me know if this sheds any light on what could be causing this and how to stop this from happening because I also have a 15 year old Japanese Maple tree right next to the Weeping Sprice and this animal might destroy that as well if I do not stop this .

thanks
waavman




Name: John K.
Malaysia
Organic Gardener
bunnydefluff
Nov 9, 2020 10:18 PM CST
You have to get your soil tested around that plant. Better seek the help of local master gardeners or arborist for diagnosis. Internet can only help so much.
Perthshire. SCOTLAND. UK
Region: United Kingdom Garden Photography Plant Identifier
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Silversurfer
Nov 10, 2020 4:42 AM CST
I am extremely sorry if I caused you any offence re blocking light.That was not my intention.
That was just a very small part of my answer.

Conifers are hard to id accurately
Close up pics of the needles/ cones would help.
Identification from pics is not easy.
However as this conifer is so poorly, and in my opinion too sick to be saved. ..then trying to accurately id it now does not seem to help with your problem.

Very sadly for whatever reason this evergreen conifer has lost the top shoot...even if you could find what the problem is that is killing, it it will never achieve the shape nature intended. It will forever grow to the right at an angle.

The trunk at ground level would indicate to me this tree is not 17 years old.

I mentioned position merely to warn you that trees near foundations have been known to cause terrible problems to the foundations of houses.

Is it the holes in the ground....animals damaging the roots, insect damage, fungal problem, or maybe a bacteria or even phytophthora?
Diseases and problems with plants dying often needs an expert. People who spend their whole working life just doing this. (So very important for the whole world economy....farmers of all vegetables, cereal growers, orchard growers, vine and wine producers.) A plant pathologist who would examine all aspects of the plant and look for clues....possibly needing a microscope.
In exactly the same way that Doctors/consultants /CSI do with humans.

Sorry this does not begin to answer your questions, but I hope may explain a little more my first answer.
[Last edited by Silversurfer - Nov 10, 2020 4:56 AM (+)]
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Missouri (Zone 6a)
Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Frillylily
Nov 10, 2020 12:52 PM CST
I think an animal, most likely a rodent of some type is your problem. Voles usually make holes about an inch or maybe 2 inches across. Not 4 inches though. Depending on how soft the soil is in the area maybe it falls in to make the holes appear larger? Place a baited trap (I use peanut butter) under a 5 gallon bucket over one of the new holes. I catch voles this way. I am not familiar with critters in NJ, do you have other things? Maybe chipmunks? I know some areas of the country have real problems w prairie dogs, ground hogs, ect, so whatever rodents you have in your area that tunnel, that is probably your problem. If you put your hand in the hole or dig around lightly does it seem to go on an on? I had a bush this summer w a vole and he shoveled large tunnels in there, it seemed to take alot of work to get them all filled back in.
Missouri (Zone 6a)
Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Frillylily
Nov 10, 2020 12:56 PM CST
This area appears raised up in the photo, this would indicate a mole, and they DO make larger openings like that. Moles easily can kill a large shrub or small tree by disturbing the roots so that they dry out /and cannot take up water or nutrients.

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Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member Dog Lover Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry Keeps Horses I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Plant Identifier Raises cows Roses Farmer Celebrating Gardening: 2015
porkpal
Nov 10, 2020 1:20 PM CST
Do you have gophers there?
Porkpal
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Nov 10, 2020 4:00 PM CST
If the animal making the holes was eating the roots, the Japanese Maple would be a tastier target. And the animal had to walk past the JM to get to the Spruce. I suspect, if it is animals killing the tree, they are disturbing roots. But, I would be more concerned about were those holes lead. You may have squirrels or chipies in your foundation.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
NJ
waavman
Nov 10, 2020 5:18 PM CST
Thanks all for your inputs. I will have a pest control guy come and take a look at it. The hole seems to be too big for a chipmunk. The hole has been dug through the top layer which is basically Mulch. Like Daisyl says I am concerned if it will impact the JM later.
Will keep you updated if they find anything like if its a mole / vole / gopher etc.. and where the holes lead to
San Francisco Bay area (Zone 9a)
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Iochroma
Nov 10, 2020 5:55 PM CST
I am of the the camp that thinks that tree is toast.
Missouri (Zone 6a)
Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Frillylily
Nov 10, 2020 8:05 PM CST
https://lotsofplants.com/produ...

perhaps a weeping norway spruce if you do decide to replace it. According to the link above, 12 tall, 9 ft wide, but you can prune/shape them however you want and they grow slow. There are many other types of tall narrow evergreens however that you might consider.
Name: Rick R.
Minneapolis, MN, USA zone 4
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Leftwood
Nov 11, 2020 9:42 AM CST
Most likely, it is already a Weeping Norway spruce that is there. There are many variants on the market. Some are more weeping than others, yet they are all labeled the same.

Obviously, something is different from before and after you bought the house. If you don't see any outward signs of disease or insects, then it is most likely the environment or environmental care that is different. Yes, investigate those holes to see if damage to the root system might be the problem. The symptoms are indicative.

Also, in such a protected corner like that, soils are often incredibly dry because they are in a rain shadow and bake from reflected heat. Possibly, and only you can know this, the previous homeowner watered there, and you have not. The symptoms are also indicative of a soil moisture change to "desert" conditions. Animals digging would only exacerbate the problem, even if they don't directly eat or damage the roots.
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Missouri (Zone 6a)
Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Frillylily
Nov 12, 2020 12:13 AM CST
I meant that I think it is a weeping norway spruce, if he/she wants to replace it with the same thing.

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