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Pruning a
Dwarf Alberta Spruce Tree

Q: Hello! I have a dwarf alberta spruce which is growing too large for its location in my small yard in central PA.

I would like to do a drastic pruning, but I know it will be bald for a while. When would be the best time to cut it back?

Also, I was thinking I would use the electric hedge clippers to do this, just to keep the shape.


A: The best time would be in spring, just before the growing season. This way, any heavy pruning will be more quickly covered up by new growth.

If you want, you can do some light pruning now but I would go light and only prune branches off that extend way out beyond the overall shape of the plant.

Be careful how much you prune. Dwarf Alberta spruces only grow 1-2 inches per year on average, and if you cut back too far you can cut into non-productive tissue and the branch will die back to its base.

You can use hedge shears, but hedge shears tend to stimulate excess growth, so this may defeat your purpose. Better to hand prune the plant although it takes more time, and clip the branches off at their base, not just around the edges.

The end result will be much better looking and much better for the plant.

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Arborist Tom Mugridge

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