Bird Nest Spruce Problems: Brown Leaves as #1 Issue

One of the most common bird nest spruce problems are the leaves turning brown.

bird nest spruce problems

Is your bird’s nest spruce looking sad and brown? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one.

Bird’s nest spruce, or Norway spruce, is a gorgeous evergreen bush that can make your garden look awesome.

But when it starts to lose its greenness abnormally, it is clearly a sign of stress.

Let’s explore the five main issues that can lead to the browning of your bird’s nest spruce and discover effective treatments to revive your plant.

One of The Most Common Bird Nest Spruce Problems and Causes

bird nest spruce problems

1. Imbalanced Watering

When you notice your bird’s nest spruce turning brown, it’s easy to assume that it lacks water.

While underwatering can contribute to browning, overwatering can also be the culprit.

Both conditions cause the leaves to turn brown, so it’s essential to determine the cause.

If you haven’t watered your plant for a long time, it’s likely due to underwatering. On the other hand, frequent watering can result in overwatering.

Control Measure

To address overwatering, immediately stop watering your plant and allow the water to drain completely.

Ensure your plant has proper drainage. For under-watered conditions, water deeply and wait until the soil is completely dry before watering again.

Remember, bird’s nest spruce prefers moist soil but not waterlogged or soggy conditions.

Using a moisture meter like the SONKIR Soil pH Meter can help determine the soil’s water requirements.

bird nest spruce problems

2. Wrong Soil

Incorrect soil composition can also cause browning in your bird’s nest spruce.

Even with proper watering, if the soil doesn’t drain well, the plant will remain waterlogged, leading to brown leaves and eventual fungal diseases.

Control Measure

If changing your watering habits doesn’t improve the browning, it’s time to change the soil.

Bird’s nest spruce prefers well-drained, slightly acidic, or neutral soil. Improve drainage by adding sand to the soil.

This will help prevent the root system from being suffocated.

bird nest spruce problems

3. Freeze Damage

During cold periods, your bird’s nest spruce may experience needle dropping, yellowing, and browning, primarily affecting the outer parts of the plant.

The inner part usually remains green and healthy.

Although these plants have good cold tolerance, they can still be damaged by freezing temperatures, especially when exposed to strong, chilly breezes.

Control Measure

Unfortunately, there is not much you can do in this case but wait. Undamaged parts will produce new needles in spring.

During winter, water your plant only once or twice a month.

After winter, prune off the dead and damaged branches to redirect nutrients to new growth.

bird nest spruce problems

4. Spider Mite Infestation

Spruce spider mites are tiny insects that can cause browning in bird’s nest spruce. They are challenging to detect with the naked eye.

You may observe slight movement and specks falling onto a white piece of paper when shaking a brown branch.

Control Measure

Severe infestations can kill the entire plant, so act promptly when you notice mites.

Apply a good insecticide that effectively kills mites, such as Natria 706250A Neem Oil Spray for Plants.

Alternatively, try homemade insecticides like dormant oil or neem oil.

bird nest spruce problems

Recipe 1: Dormant Oil Insecticide Recipe


  • 2 teaspoons of liquid dishwashing soap
  • 200 ml of olive oil or sunflower oil


  1. Mix the ingredients and store the liquid in an airtight bottle.
  2. Apply the mixture multiple times by adding 2 teaspoons to every 250 ml of water, then spray on your bird’s nest spruce.

Recipe 2: Neem Oil Insecticide Recipe

bird nest spruce problems
Neem Oil


  • 1 tablespoon of neem oil
  • 1 liter of water


  1. Mix both ingredients thoroughly.
  2. Spray the solution on both sides of your bird’s nest spruce every week.

Note: Test homemade insecticide solutions on a small part of your plant first to ensure they don’t negatively affect the leaves.

Dilute the solution with more water if any adverse reactions occur.

bird nest spruce problems

5. Anthracnose Fungal Disease

Anthracnose is a fungal disease that causes yellowing and browning of the leaves in bird’s nest spruce.

In severe cases, it can lead to complete leaf loss.

The disease mainly spreads in cool and wet conditions, often through water splashes.

Control Measure

Start by removing all branches with brown leaves to prevent fungal spores from spreading.

Treat your plant with an effective and environmentally safe fungicide like Bonide 811 Copper 4E Fungicide.

Ensure good air circulation by pruning regularly and disinfect pruning tools to prevent further spread of the disease.

Recipe 1: Baking Soda Spray Fungicide Recipe

bird nest spruce problems
Baking Soda


  • 2 tablespoons of baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons of any cooking oil (optional)
  • 5 liters of water
  • 2 teaspoons of liquid dish soap


  1. Mix all ingredients and pour the solution into a sprayer.
  2. Spray the entire plant twice a week as needed.

Recipe 2: Epsom Salt Spray Fungicide Recipe

bird nest spruce problems
Epsom Salt


  • 5 teaspoons of Epsom salt
  • 4 liters of water


  1. Mix the ingredients thoroughly.
  2. Spray the solution on your plant every week as long as the fungal problem persists.

Preventive Measure: Anthracnose thrives in humid and damp conditions, so maintaining good air circulation is crucial.

Regularly prune the plant and ensure a clean environment free of weeds and debris.

Dispose of brown plant parts away from healthy ones.

How to Grow the Bird’s Nest Spruce: A Quick Guide

bird nest spruce problems

To successfully grow your bird’s nest spruce, follow these steps:

  1. Provide your plant with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily.
  2. Avoid waterlogging the soil by adding sand and perlite to improve drainage.
  3. Keep the soil consistently moist.
  4. Water the plant once a week when there is no rainfall, but refrain from watering during rainy periods.
  5. Provide shade during hot weather to protect the plant from excessive heat.
  6. Fertilize your bird’s nest spruce once a year with a slow-release, all-purpose fertilizer like EZ-gro 20 20 20 Fertilizer. Apply it in spring when new growth appears.
  7. Prune off dead and damaged branches as soon as you notice them.
  8. Consider pruning every other year during late winter or early spring.
  9. If growing in a container, repot every 2 or 3 years to allow root growth.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

bird nest spruce problems

Do bird’s nest spruce plants need full sun?

Bird’s nest spruce plants thrive under full sun. However, they can also tolerate partial shade as long as they receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. Provide some shade during the afternoon in warm seasons.

How long does it take for a bird’s nest spruce to grow?

Bird’s nest spruce is a fast-growing tree. In favorable conditions with adequate nutrients, it can grow up to 5 feet per year.

Do bird’s nest spruce plants drop needles?

Yes, bird’s nest spruce plants drop their needles, which are essentially their leaves, when under stress. Factors such as scorching sun, freezing temperatures, diseases, and insect attacks can cause needle dropping.

How long does a Norway spruce live?

When provided with the right conditions, bird’s nest spruce plants are hardy and can live for 200 years or even longer, depending on their location.


bird nest spruce problems

Discovering your bird’s nest spruce turning brown doesn’t mean you have to accept its fate.

Armed with knowledge about the possible causes and effective treatments, you can help your plant regain its vibrancy.

By protecting it from freezing temperatures, addressing insect and disease attacks, and providing the correct amount of water, you can ensure the health and beauty of your Norway spruce.

With these steps, your bird’s nest spruce will be on its way back to being the evergreen wonder it once was.


  • SONKIR Soil pH Meter, MS02 3-in-1 Soil Moisture/Light/pH Tester
  • Natria 706250A Neem Oil Spray for Plants
  • Bonide 811 Copper 4E Fungicide
  • EZ-gro 20 20 20 Fertilizer