Need help with a sick pine tree

SpudicusApril 21, 2013

Hi, i'm new to the site but i'm hoping this is where I can come for help. I am an amateur when it comes to gardening, but we have had an 8-9 foot pine tree for about 3 years and it has begun to show some signs of sickness, malnutrition, or something else.

Does anyone have an idea what is happening to my tree and what I should do to attempt to save it?

Any help is much appreciated!

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Spud, the tree looks perfectly healthy except for that one or two branch area. Maybe something physically damaged the tree there. Think broken branches, still half attached but dead and drying out. I'm not there but that's how it looks to me. If so, just grab a hand pruner or loppers and cut out the bad stuff. In so young a tree, new growth of surrounding branches will fill in that area easily.


    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 9:22PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

first .. tom???? .. its a spruce ...

second.. that might be one branch.. cant tell.. get it there.. and cut is off ....

this thing has 50 to 100 foot potential.. and 3 feet from that fence corner is not enough space ....

ARE THERE POWER LINES ABOVE ??? .. if so.. get rid of it now ..

picea pungens??? or picea abies .... i cant tell this early in the morning on this pic .....


ps: and some day.. it will have SPRUCE cones... not pine cones ....

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 6:51AM
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I would say those branches are to windward or irrigationward. Otherwise I see no evidence of insect pests on that spruce.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 9:05AM
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Thank you all for your help! I suppose I could have been more specific and/or accurate.

It is a Caanan Fir, and I will definitely prune the dying branches. My concern is the quantity of them. I estimate there are 6-10 dead branches randomly distributed around all sides and heights of the tree.

We had a very hot and dry summer last year and I was wondering if that might be the culprit? I do have four other spruces in the yard and they all look perfectly healthy.

If I could figure out how to send multiple pictures I would send you a close-up picture of one of the dead branches. I see no evidence of any physical damage though.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 10:47AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

you send multiple pix. .in multiple reply posts ...

just snip out the dead.. and hope for the best...

and increase water.. DEEP WATERING .... put the hose on a low trickle.. until you achieve moisture AT DEPTH.. dig hole to find out ....


    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 11:30AM
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Now that I see the whole tree, it still looks pretty good. Not a systemic problem, I don't think. Whatever happened, the overall appearance is that of a vigorous and healthy tree. So cut the dead branches out-if you're certain they lack viable buds at their tips-and forget about it. Tree looks great.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 5:50PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

the link says:

Canaan fir is an attractive medium-sized tree generally reaching 40-55 feet in height and 20-25 feet in width.

i see a power line in the last pic above....

are you just going to cut it down.. when it gets there???.. or complain when the power company does????

trim out the dead.. and consider moving it in fall ...

maybe a cool xmas tree.. and start over????


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 7:07PM
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I agree with ken - sure looks like a spruce to me, probably a pungens. I've never seen a fir with needles that go around the stem like that. Then again, I'm not familiar with Canaan Fir.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 8:37PM
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famartin(z5 NE NV)

I agree, give us a closer look at the needles please, but I think that's a spruce, not a fir.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 11:58PM
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First off, look at the needle bundles and see how many are in each bunch. If they are singular it may be a spruce or a fir. If it's a spruce, there will be little pulvules where the needle emerges, leaving a bumpy branch when removed. Firs do not. Looks like a canaan to me. Their introduction to the industry has an interesting history and it's a tree whose natural range is quite limited. I live not too far from the farm who is responsible for 'discovering' this species potential and introducing it as an appropriate candidate for Christmas tree production, a major industry in our state.

A production problem with balsam firs and related species is a fungus called needlecast disease. You will need to check the affected branches for the tell-tale signs of it and I'm providing a link to show you what to look for. It can hit random branches and the tree still look healthy.

Here is a link that might be useful: needle cast disease

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 6:17AM
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