Ask a Question forum: Strange growth pattern on spruce

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ClaireClaire
May 11, 2017 6:52 PM CST
We see this tree on the way to work every day. It is a spruce. It has a bulbous, dense growth pattern on the top. Very strange. Any idea what the cause is?
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
May 11, 2017 7:06 PM CST
Welcome!

It's called a witch's broom, sometimes spelled witches' broom. They can have various causes such as rust diseases and parasites. To be more specific for that particular one it might help to know what kind of spruce and roughly where in the world it is located. Some more pics:

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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
May 11, 2017 7:16 PM CST
Its called Witch's Broom. It happens when something causes one spot on the tree to grow abnormally - there are a number of causes. It doesn't hurt the tree and in fact, some new cultivators have been developed from Witch's Broom. The one I see the most are cultivators of Dawn Redwood that started as Witch's Broom. They are usually dwarf, Some are variegated. The one I have is a dwarf weeping version.
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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