2 years ago I had a 7' Norway Spruce put in and it has never given me much trouble. A few weeks to a month ago, I noticed that the very tip of the tree was turning brown and starting to die. The browning is slowly creeping lower and lower.

It hasn't been particularly hot or dry here yet this summer and I didn't notice any signs of bugs or fungus, but it may be that I just don't know what to look for. There are two other Norway Spruce to either side about 6 feet apart that are doing fantastically so I'm a bit at a loss.

Other than upping the watering (I've been soaking 2-3 times a week, but there doesn't seem to be any improvement), what can I try or look for? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Norway spruce with browning tip

EDIT: Adding more pictures

Healthy tree in blue, unhealthy tree in red Big picture of where trees are situated

2 Answers 2


What I am seeing looks like it could be just normal die back. That one branch that was broken the tree has decided is not going to be a big producer. I only see a bit more of browning.

Have you looked closely to see if there are mites (very very tiny insects or wooly adedgid, looks like soap suds)?

Is there another tree in the picture behind this tree? So the tip was broken and is now dying back?

Forget about overdoing the watering. We need to understand the differences between this tree and your others. Like how close is this tree to the one in back. What fertilizer have you used? Insects...look on the underside of leaves and the lowest leaves of the tree.

Please send a picture of the whole environment standing back with your trees in relation to each other.

Where is it you live? This could possibly be a disease you do not want near any other plants. Obviously if it is phytophthora the spores are already in the soil. Healthy plants can resist this fungus...like disease for awhile. Here is a link for just one possible disease other than having natural dieback.

phytophthora As you can see excess water is not at all a good thing. There are a few others but like I said this might be normal.

  • Thanks for the reply! I got a ladder out and took a closer look at the tree, up and down. I couldn't find anything that looked out of place (insects, growths, etc.) on the trunk or branches or anything. I assumed the broken tip was a result of it dying and drying out, but it's possible I just never noticed it was broken previously. This is in SE Michigan and I haven't used fertilizer on any of the 6 Norway Spruce. This particular tree is lighter in color and has much sparser needles than the other 5. I'll add some more pictures.
    – Ryan
    Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 16:03
  • What a beautiful garden wall! Did you put that in? Absolutely gorgeous. What stone is that? Whatever...sorry. Your plants look very healthy. Is the tree to the left the same species? You've never fertilized? Were these two trees planted at the same time? Were they Balled and Burlapped?
    – stormy
    Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 21:13
  • Well, I had it put in, does that count?? It's caramel-mint limestone. I'm glad you like it! I had six Norway Spruce put in at once and the original in that spot died about 4 months later (landscaper claimed it was under-watered) so I had a different landscaper put one in. It never quite looked the same as the others, but it seemed healthy and was close enough so I went with it. And yes, they were all balled/burlapped, never fertilized.
    – Ryan
    Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 23:23
  • Did they remove the burlap? The twine? Look below the soil line to see if there are any twine ties that are constricting the vascular system. Do fertilize. These are chemicals that aren't natural in man made garden soils. these chemicals are crucial. No compost in the world will replace proper fertilizer. I am running into this almost daily...this 'fertilizer' is bad stuff? Aaaarrgghh. Underwatered right next to others that are watered just fine...? Dig down to see if there is any twine choking off your tree's vascular system. Good first step. Caramel MINT Limestone. Yummm!
    – stormy
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 2:24
  • Caramel mint limestone....wow. How can I ever forget this name?
    – stormy
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 2:58

Borers do damage exactly like that in certain pine trees . The borers are inside so you can't see them ; cut off the dead parts and look for tunnels.

  • I cut the top foot or so off and chopped it up a bit and didn't see any tunnels.
    – Ryan
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 0:40
  • Sorry , my best guess. Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 14:32
  • It was worth a shot, and I appreciate the help!
    – Ryan
    Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 14:37

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