I just moved into a home and this tree is planted in the yard. Half of it seems to be in good shape but the other half has no leaves and seems dead. I'm not sure what, if anything, I can do to save or rejuvenate this tree.

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I live in Great Falls, Virginia in the USA and it is currently early spring here.

  • With this little information, we'd just be guessing. Do you know what type of tree it is? What season is it where you live? Is it possible it could be a seasonal change? Do the leaves that are there look healthy?
    – michelle
    Apr 11, 2013 at 19:14
  • 1
    @michelle I've updated my location and current season here. I'm not sure if it is a seasonal change because I just moved here but I have seen trees like these in good condition around the neighborhood. The green leaves that are currently on there seem to be in good condition Apr 11, 2013 at 19:36

2 Answers 2


With evergreens they way they grow is that most species do not bud or get new growth off old wood. (Yews are an exception and this makes them very durable for hedging)

For your tree, where the branches are dead it is unlikely that any new growth will "fill in" the gaps. Existing growth on that side will continue growing and as the tree grows the gaps will become less prominent.

I cannot tell the cause of the dieback. It could be winter damage from heavy salt or if there is evidence of damage to the trunk then that could be the problem.

If this is a specimen plant that you see every day you could consider removing it. If you have some patience and it's not in a critical area then just topdress and water during dry spells and you won't notice the damage in a few years.


first thing to do is trim off all of the dead branches... then see if you really want to save the tree.

look for signs of beetle attack (sappy bore holes). when it gets warmer you can sometimes hear the larva chewing...

if you have beetles, just cut it down and burn it.

if not keep in mind a few things.

  1. The bare areas will probably not re grow.
  2. this looks like a horticultural sport, like a weeping spruce of some sort, and probably won't get big enough to look normal with the missing branches.
  3. unless you figure out what is killing the tree it may continue to die anyway.

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