Have you noticed your spruce trees looking odd lately? Unfortunately, there are diseases that are affecting Spruce trees in our area.
The first is cytospora canker. This is caused by a fungus, and it does affect some types of spruces more than others. It is most common in Norway and Colorado Blue Spruce, but does affect others. It rarely kills the tree, but it does make it visually unappealing and sickly. It starts at the bottom of the tree and works its way up, causing the needles to become purplish at first, then turn brown and drop, leaving bare branches and twigs. Younger spruces are rarely affected by this fungus, because this is a stress-induced disease. What this means it younger trees usually have space to grow and are smaller, but as trees grow there is less room for them to have a healthy root system, and wounds open up at the base of the tree because branches are larger and heavier.
Unfortunately, there is not really a treatment that will stop this fungus, but there are ways you can try to avoid it. Make sure your spruces are mulched so that there are not severe temperature fluctuations near the roots, and make sure you do not damage or stress the root system by planting things too close. Make sure the tree gets adequate moisture at dry times. You can also remove infected branches to improve the look of the tree, but this may also reduce the spread of the disease.