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Spruce Gall or Freeze Damage – The Differences

Posted on: August 12th, 2015

Homeowners and businesses across the Front Range are being told that their spruce tree(s) might be infected with spruce gall, which may not be the case.

Spruce Gall vs. Freeze Damage

Spruce gall is commonly found on new growth of spruce trees, but what companies neglect to tell homeowners and businesses is its similarity to freeze damage. Spruce gall distorts new growth while freeze damage will gradually weather off when the tree emerges from dormancy in the spring. Landscape Care Consultant, Tony Hahn, spoke with 9NEWS to explain how to identify the differences between spruce gall and the damage from the Mother’s Day freeze.

The aphid-like insect develops within the chambers of the galls, which gradually increase in size throughout the summer. During the feeding stage of the insect’s life, the galls remain green up until they migrate to another nearby tree. The uninhabited galls begin to dry out resulting in a brown and noticeable pod on the tree. Damage done by the Mother’s Day freeze looks similar in appearance however, the damage will weather off and is harmless to the tree.

Freeze damage and spruce gall look very similar, but it can be hard to differentiate between the two. In order to tell if your tree is affected by spruce gall, you will need to further investigate the tree by hand. The helpful chart below can help you identify if your tree(s) are affected by spruce gall or by freeze damage.

Spruce Gall vs. Freeze Damage

Knowing the differences between spruce gall and freeze damage is important for the health of the tree. It’s best to treat your trees in early spring before the new growth begins or in the fall before the insect returns back to the tree. If you’ve identified spruce gall on your spruce tree(s), tree services in Denver such as  Swingle can help.


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