My parents blue spruce seems to have a lot of dead branches near the bottom. We are in northwest Ohio - zone 5 or 6 I think? Is there something we can do to help it? It's a beautiful tree and provides a lot of privacy for them. (I also am not 100% sure it's a blue spruce but my dad seems sure it is)
Blue spruce sick dying or normal?
That is certainly a Colorado Blue Spruce - Picea pungens var. glauca.
I'm not sure why the pictures stretched like that. It's like if forced it to be square. The free is not that "fat". But anyway hopefully the lower branch die off is easy to see despite the picture quality. if not I can take more tomorrwZ
There aren't any details in your photo to distinguish why your spruce is dying back. Certainly it isn't shade which is one reason that causes needle lose. Its hard enough figuring out what went wrong with conifers in general because often they are green and then they are not. They don't leave many hints like other types of plants do. Here is an article that may start you off. Maybe you can look for some signs mentioned here.
In the meantime, cut out all the deadwood and heighten the tree. Keep chemicals such as herbicides and fertilizers away from it. If you do use a fertilizer, use low numbers, not something like miraclegro which a lot of plants don't tolerate in my experience. Protect it from drought but don't let it sit in water either.
As for your pictures, rotate the photos in your software and then save the file before you upload. The square photos are thumbnails. When you click on them, their dimensions come through.
There are often hidden historical reasons for losses like this. Many are attributable to things like snow and ice loads in northerly regions like Ohio. The snow or ice laden branches were bent excessively, but not enough to break. This distortion, however, can have created cracks longitudinally as well as transversely to the branches, weakening the vascular system and allowing pathogen entry points.
The death shows up quite separate in time from that event, but is causative nonetheless.