Friday Quiz: Spruce brown-out?

We’re beginning to see signs that we may be getting a lot of calls on spruces this year similar ones we experienced a couple of years ago.   Homeowners and landscapers are calling in with reports of brown ‘growths’ on spruces – particularly white spruce and some on Colorado blue spruce.  The growths can be quite noticeable, even from a distance and cause trees to take on a brownish cast; usually most prevalent on the lower 2/3rds or so of the crown.  What’s going on?


Note: I also discuss this problem in my article in this week’s MSU Extension Nursery and Landscape CAT Alert – but don’t go there ‘til you’ve chimed in here.  Otherwise we call that ‘not in the spirit of the challenge’.

11 thoughts on “Friday Quiz: Spruce brown-out?”

  1. If it were around here, I’d say Spruce Gall, which is actually an adelgid. I would never plant a spruce because of it. Spruce gall doesn’t kill the trees, but it makes them really, really ugly. You can spray for it on a rainless, windless February day. Good luck getting one of those in Seattle.

  2. I remember years ago when we were in Buffalo that someone brought in something similar. They kind of looked like mutant cones, but they weren’t. I can’t remember what our tree person said they were – I want to say a fungus but not sure…

  3. Deirdre, good guess on the adelgids. Wrong. But a good guess. I once saw Christmas wreathes that a woman made from spruce galls. She thought they were little pine cones.

  4. PlantingOaks, you’re on the right track but our judges are in a foul mood (working on a talk on a sunny Friday afternoon!) and need a more specfic answer.

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