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I have noticed that some of my spruces have dead branches with fungi in the lower half. Additionally, the shrubs have yellow leaves that do not look healthy. During the summer, buzzing noises can also be heard from the leaves (presumably from insects). Can you give me any advice on these two issues? Thanks, Jane


Spruce and Shrub Health Concerns Dear Jane,
The lower part of the spruce is dead and will not come back. These branches need to be removed. The fungi is harmless lichen that will not cause any problems.

The shrub in your picture is a boxwood and it looks like it has boxwood blight which is a very serious disease; the shrub will not recover. This disease spreads from boxwood to boxwood very quickly and will spread around the neighborhood to other boxwoods as well.

The boxwoods in the photo have been pruned incorrectly with hedge shears which contributed to stressing the plant.

When boxwoods are pruned with hedge shears (instead of hand pruning) the outside of the shrub grows in very thickly, discouraging any light or air from reaching the center of the plant. This moist, dark environment within the shrub is perfect for disease and insects to set in.

The boxwoods will need to be removed.

You will not be able to plant new boxwoods in the place of the old boxwoods, because boxwood blight is a disease that is the in soil and will eventually infect the new boxwoods.

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About Linda Lillie

Linda K. Lillie is the President of Sprigs & Twigs, Inc, the premier landscape design and maintenance, tree care, lawn care, stonework, and carpentry service provider in southeastern Connecticut since 1997. She is a graduate of Connecticut College in Botany, a Connecticut Master Gardener and a national award winning landscape designer for her landscape design and landscape installation work.


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