Almost anybody can recognize a pine tree or evergreen tree.  One of the most recognizable trees is the blue spruce.  It is known for having a blue tone but is much easier to distinguish this tree from another pine by looking at the needle layout and shape of the needles.  The needles of a spruce are square in shape.  The needles are not bunched up, rather they are individually come from the branches.

Rhizosphaera is a known disease that affects the blue spruce.  It is a fungus based disease that turns the needles purple in the beginning stages of the disease.  A tree that has been affected with rhizoshaera can die in as little as 5 years.  Die back will take place in spots either near the base or at the crown of the tree.  This disease can be treated if it is caught early enough. 
Cankers can be a physical problem in blue spruces.  Remember cankers are either human made or made by animals such as deer or bear.  Most commonly trees get cankers when they are cut by weed whipper's.
The only other problem that occurs in blue spruce is that there root system is very shallow and fibrous so they are very suspect to blowing down in heavy wind. Here is what to look for in Blue Spruce:

  • Needles turn purple in sections
  • Die back in areas (especially crown)
  • Needles with brown spotting in middle of needle

New to the blue spruce in our region is pine dieback.  There is much more information about this disease on the following link.  PINE DIEBACK
Evergreen family
Common Name: Arborvitae

Scientific name: Thuja occidentalis
Leaves:Scaly leaves
Bark: Red brown furrowed, and peels in narrow longitudinal strips
Height: 33-66" max
Spread: 15-20'
General info: They also go by the name white cedar but are known to most as arborvitae.  Most grow naturally in eastern Canada and northeastern United States.  Common acid loving tree that is often used like a bush.  Most tend to be planted far to close to houses not knowing how big they can get. 

Pests and diseases: Spider mites, and winter burn are major problems in this species of cedar.
Common Name: Balsam fir

Scientific name: Abies balsamea
Leaves: Flat needles .5-1" long
Bark: Smooth gray with resin blisters
Height: 46-66' tall at max
Spread: 25-35'
General info: These are often used as Christmas trees.  The sap was traditionally used as a cold remedy.  Other uses included glue for many specialized tools.  These trees love acid soils and make for great nesting areas for many animals.

Pests and diseases: Needle cast diseases, spruce gall adelgid, bark beetles, root rot and many other problems occur in balsam fir trees.
Common Name: Black spruce

Scientific name: Picea mariana
Leaves: 6-15 mm long, stiff, four sided needles, dark blue green on top, paler green below
Bark: Thin, scaly and grayish brown
Height: 15-45' max
Spread: 10-30'
General info: Slow growing pine tree with drooping branches and upturned tips.  Grows naturally mostly in Canada and northern states of US. Due to the smaller size of these trees they are not often used in woodworking.

Pests and diseases: Needlecast, needle blight, needle rust, canker, and root rot fungi are common in black spruce
Common Name: Jack pine

Scientific name: Pinus banksiana
Leaves: Needles, groups of two, twisted, slightly yellow green, 2-4 cm long
Bark: Gray tone with scales
Height: 30-72' max. 
Spread: 15-35'
General info: Generally suited best for sandy or rocky soil.  This tree is adapted to regenerate after fires burn a stand of jack pines. Most interesting characteristic is a curved tip of the cone. 

Pests and diseases: Blister rust, cankers and sawfly are all common problems of jack pines.
Common Name: Juniper, Eastern

Scientific name: Juniperus virginiana
Leaves: Long and tightly adpressed scales, 2-4 mm long, Arranged in opposite pairs
Bark: Reddish brown, fibrous, and peels off in narrow vertical strips.
Height: 16-66' max. 
Spread: 7-20'
General info: Height on these trees varies a bunch due to soil conditions. Often planted as a wind block or a natural fence.  Most distinctive trait is a blue berry in bunches.  This wood does not rot so it is used in many outdoor wood applications like fence posts.

Pests and diseases: Tissues include spider mites, winter burn, scale, needle blight
Common Name: White pine

Scientific name: Pinus strobus
Leaves: Bundles of 5 needles, flexible and finely serrated 2-5" long
Bark: Thick and grey-brown.
Height: 207' max. 
Spread: 20-50'
General info: Long lived with most lasting to 250 years old.  Prefers well drained soils with cool and high humidity.  This tree played a major role in Americas expansion in the 19th century.  These trees were used for lumber.

Pests and diseases: Pine blister rust, white pine weevil, overwatering (poor drainage), bark beetle
Common Name: Norway pine

Scientific name: Pinus resinosa
Leaves: Dark green needles, 4.7-7" long and brittle. Snap cleanly when bent.
Bark: Thick and grey-brown, thin flaky and bright orange red near top
Height: 66-115' max. 
Spread: 25-40'
General info: Long lived tree with maximum age of 500 years old.  Does well in well drained low pH soils. Tree is self pruning and have come close to extinction in the recent past. 

Pests and diseases: Diplodia, needle blights, wholly aphids and many other issues are in Norway pines
Common Name: White spruce

Scientific name: Picea glauca
Leaves: Needles .5-.75" long. Blue green above, blue white below
Bark: Thin and scaly, flaking off in circular plates
Height: 49-98' max. 
Spread: 25-40'
General info: Can live to be 300 years old.  Root system is very adaptable to different conditions.  Mostly shallow root system.  Cones have winged seeds that are dropped to the ground.  Grow mostly in Canada and bordering US states.

Pests and diseases: Canker, rusts, needlecast, needle blight.
Common Name: Blue spruce

Scientific name: Picea pungens
Leaves: Waxy grey-green needles, radial formation
Bark: Scaly gray bark with yellow brown branches
Height: 49-75' max
Spread: 15-30'
General info: Slow growing pine tree with drooping branches and upturned tips.  Grows naturally mostly in Canada and northern states of US. Due to the smaller size of these trees they are not often used in woodworking.

Pests and diseases: Needlecast, needle blight, pineapple gall adelgid, pine needle scale
Emerald Ash Borer, dutch elm disease, maple wilt, disease control, tree treatments