top of page

Spruce Tree Disease


       Spruce Trees are a common landscape feature in Iowa with low resilience. Des Moines Arborist Chris Olson attributes this to planting heights, poor nursery stock, sight selection, increased bird populations and detrimental cultural practices.

       Previous generations planted the Norway spruce tree (Picea abies) in high numbers, outdone as of late by the blue (Picea pungens) and white spruce (Picea glauca). 

       The transition away from the more resilient Picea abies has increased biotic stress to spruce tree populations increasing Plant Health Care requirements.

Common Spruce Tree Diseases

Rhizosphaera Needle Cast

Rhizosphaera fungi infect newly emerging (and supple) needle fascicles through spore contact during springs moist/cool conditions. This Contact fungal pathogen is most commonly found by Arborists in Des Moines, Iowa on blue spruce and evidenced by purple dieback.

Tip or Shoot Blight

Olson Tree Care in Des Moines, Iowa has observed a couple of possible pathogens for tip and shoot blight on spruce trees. Most commonly Sirococcus (Sirococcus conigenus) and Diplodia (Sphaeropsis sapinea) are spread by spring Contact resulting in a necrotic morphology.

Spider Mites

The two spotted and spruce spider mites are the most common spring and summer mites to populate Iowa's spruce trees. Their tiny piercing/sucking parts are able to extricate cell contents depleting nutrients and biological resources.


Bagworm caterpillars defoliate evergreens and other trees throughout Des Moines, Iowa. Their eggs overwinter in the bags created during the previous growing season. Adult emergence generally occurs in June when recurring populations get noticed by Residential Tree Care when sufficient populations defoliate large sections of trees.

Cytospora Canker

Cytospora canker fungus spores are spread to wounds by insects, birds and other mammals, rain splashing and wind. This Vascular fungal pathogen is not limited to a species, Norway, white and blue spruce can all be infected. 

Spruce Tree Diseases in Iowa

Despite overwhelming evidence that environmental conditions do not favor spruce trees, they are planted at the highest rates by Tree Services in Des Moines, Iowa. Olson Tree Care’s preservation techniques can help by utilizing integrative pest management. Call or email today to schedule your Tree Health Evaluation or Arborist Consultation.​

bottom of page