Spruce tree

(Question)

This spruce tree is in the Richmond Hill area, Ontario. It faces North and receives a good amount of light in the open front yard of the house.
This spring (2013) it began to change in colour from the usual spruce green to a rust/brown colour. There are also small insects infecting the tree. I don’t know what they look like. It used to be a big and tall tree (Colorado Blue Spruce- my guess), but in the past it has been cut down to a height of about 5.5 feet (refer to photo).
What is the problem with this tree? Any remedy? Should it be cut down and if so how to cut it down?
Thank you very much for any advice.

 

 

(Answer)

This tree must have been a beautiful centrepiece for your garden! My best guess is that it is infested with spruce spider mites, but the damage could be from a number of different causes.  The references below should help you figure out what’s attacking the tree.  You may want to consult an arborist –  can ask your local nursery for a recommendation or go to Landscape Ontario for a list of arborists in your area.  We are not qualified to advise you how to cut a tree down (if indeed it must come to that).

We have written extensively about pests and diseases of blue spruce and strategies to deal with these issues. Please see Blue Spruce Decline (you can search on our website for “blue spruce” or just “spruce” and this pops up.  This material was posted in January 2013, and the only thing different about this summer was that it certainly wasn’t a dry one!

Here is a link to another helpful reference with good photos, from the Minnesota Dept of Natural Resources, on Spruce Problem – Diagnosis for Yard Trees