How To Remove And Replace A Dead Spruce Tree

Question From: A. Winchester - UTAH
Q: Our spruce tree is approx. 4 yrs old and is dead the first 6 inches down in the middle. Any suggestions?


Andee, Here is a portion of a column I just wrote regarding issues with spruce trees. I suggest you contact a certified arborist in your areas for an onsite inspection. When a tree came down in my yard last week during the big snowstorm, I thought about the thousands of dead and dying ash trees that could have come crashing down. Spending money to cut down a dead tree seems like such a waste, but it may be cheap insurance against property damage, physical injury and even death, especially if these trees are in your yard. Randy Owen, the certified arborist and owner of Owens Tree Service, Michigan's largest tree care company (800) 724-6680, says there are thousands of dead ash trees all over Michigan just waiting fall. He warns the large specimens are problematic, because they deteriorate more quickly then other hard wood trees and can break apart or topple in two years or less after death. Mix a dead ash tree with ice, wind or a snowstorm and you have recipe for disaster. Colorado Blue Spruce trees (Picea pungens) are also under siege these days. Drought and hot weather have taken their toll on these beauties and in their weakened condition are subject to attack by a number of diseases and MSU says they are hitting the trees all at once. Randy Owen says they have had success treating them however. The damage begins by a show of reddish tinged needles that eventually turn brown and die. The disease usually starts at the bottom of the tree and works it way up. Once the reddish tinge occurs there is no saving the infected needles. If you have infected trees in your area and your Colorado Blues are healthy you may want to take preventative measures. If replacing a Colorado Blue, Randy Owen suggests concolor fir ( Abies concolor). They are adaptable to hot dry summers and the strong spire-like conical shape works well in larger landscapes. They range in color from green to blue green to almost silver-blue, depending on the variety. Norway spruce (Picea abies) is another Owen favorite. It can expand to 25 feet and climb to 40 plus in height. However, Picea abies Nidisformus , also called the birdnest spruce, grows to just 3 to 6 feet perfect for rock gardens and other landscape features. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy