I have two dwarf alberta spruces. They are planted on either side of my garage door. The both are close to bricks on the front of my house. One bush is doing just fine, the other is browning closest to the bricks and looks like a big chunk was taken out of it. I am thinking that it has something to do with the bricks. The bush that is doing fine has a tree near it that provides some shade. I have also noticed a spider web in the one that is browning. I’m not sure what to do. I feel I may have multiple problems and don’t know where to start. Is there something I can do to protect the bush from the heat of the bricks (if that is a problem)? Is there an organic way to rid it of the spiders? Thanks for all of your help.
It sounds like they have spider mites. It is not just the heat of the bricks, but also the poor air circulation that can make Dwarf Alberta spruce more vulnerable to spider mites. You might find success treating the spider mites with a frequent hard spray of water from the garden hose, but these spruce are probably planted in the wrong spot or at least too close to the building. Spraying with water will disrupt the spider mite life cycle without harming any predatory insects. It is very difficult to treat spider mites with insecticides as these tend to do more damage to their predators than the mites and actually tend to worsen outbreaks. Check out this spider mite factsheet from the Colorado State extension.
In general dwarf Alberta spruce should be planted where they will have good air circulation, and moist, well-drained soil. They do not do well in hot climates or urban areas. Make sure to water during dry spells to prevent drought stress. Check out this dwarf Alberta spruce factsheet from Ohio State for more detailed info.
Thank you for your response and the information. I will read the information you have given and see if I can help my plants survive. The bushes were here when I moved in and they looked nice. I guess it’s lack of experience on my part for why they are suffering.
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Welcome! I’m Margaret Roach, a leading garden writer for 25 years—at ‘Martha Stewart Living,’ ‘Newsday,’ and in three books. I host a public-radio podcast; I also lecture, plus hold tours at my 2.3-acre Hudson Valley (NY) Zone 5B garden, and always say no to chemicals and yes to great plants.