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Picea pungens 'Something's Amiss' (2 Replies)

Posted October 29, 2018 at 5:33 pm

I normally lightly fertilize my conifers in the Spring with an extended release level fertilizer (Espoma or something like that) but this year I did not do anything.

This year I’ve lost three plants due to what I think is a root rot fungus problem (Phytophthora – two Pinus strobus and one Chamaecyparis thyoides). Pinus strobus historically has been the least likely to survive in my yard behind Larix which has never survived which I’ve accepted and am over now.

Out of several hundred various conifers, three of my larger Picea pungens (‘Glauca’ Baby Blue®, ‘FatAlbert’ and ‘Blue Pearl’) all are looking quite rough and I don’t think it’s normal needle shedding in the Fall. Whole interior branches are yellow and brown. None of these are very dense trees, so these would be the shorter branches that you can see easily, but they aren’t the main branches that extend to the outside of the trees.

I don’t remember a lot of new growth this year but they didn’t look noticeably unhealthy. Comparing to photos from this time in years past to now, it seems these plants should be really blue right now and stay that way through the winter.

Zone 7a and we did have an extremely humid summer with a lot of rain.

Fertilize? Wait and see?

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Posted October 29, 2018 at 5:53 pm

We did have 12.01″ of rain since Sept. 1.

Here are two photos.

Picea pungens ‘Fat Albert’ – The bottom of the tree has no needles on the branches at all and I’ll trim those out this weekend, but this is supposed to grow into a huge plant so as long as it’s only the bottom, I think I’m fine with that but now I see yellow in the middle.

Picea pungens ‘Blue Pearl’ – on a 3′ standard and just looks like it’s rotting from the inside. The whole back side of this died earlier this year and I cut it out but it still looks like it’s going South fast.

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Posted November 3, 2018 at 9:19 am

I’ve decided not to fertilize anything at this time. After another few days of observation, this extraordinary browning of the interior needles is happening on almost all of my conifers. I’m blaming it on the rough and very humid summer and early Fall. We’ll see what pulls through.

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