Spruce Branch Die-Back

Hey Mirai folks!

Just wondering if you all could help me work through some ideas on what would be causing this die-back on my spruce. Two years ago my first bonsai was a dwarf Alberta spruce, I styled it in the spring, repotted in the fall and the following spring each branch died one at a time. There was some silt in the bottom of the pot, so I sort of assumed the roots stayed too wet, or I did too much work too quickly.

I acquired another tree this past fall, kept it in the nursery container, and after bringing the tree outside about a week ago I’ve lost my first branch. I hope I don’t repeat the same situation as last time and the tree slowly falls apart as the season goes by.

What do you guy think? Over or under watering? Do spruces just always lose branches after a styling? Thanks for your thoughts in advance.


Hi Mike, have you checked along the branch and where it joins the trunk for wiring damage? It could be something as simple as that.

It mostly looks normal. There are even two branches more or less below this branch which are (so far) fine. Mayyyybe I see a small crack in the first centimeter of the branch. I suppose that could be it.

I would watch and wait. Did you buy it from the same nursery? If other branches begin to die back and you don’t think it’s to do with wiring then it could be an infection. Why don’t you put it on the forum Q & A for Ryan to help you?

Can’t use the Q/A because it’s in a higher tier. Thanks for the suggestion.

I don’t think it’s the same nursrry

I’m quite new and have had the same problem. I think my failures with cheap dwarf alberta has been due to a few factors. One is that they have been quite rootbound, and thus hard to saturate. The h2o/o2 balance easily gets all wonky. You think you’re watering properly, but perhaps you’re not. Also, it seems like structural setting and more detail wiring cant happen too closely. Also, I’ve made the mistake of doing work to late in the year, and the tree’s ability to compartmentalize seems to drop off earlier than I thought, at least where I am in the world (mid sweden). Then again, I am a newbie, so this may all be nonsense.