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Dwarf Alberta Spruce Pruning

Q: I am wondering if it is possible to prune an Alberta Spruce to keep it from growing too tall, and instead become a fuller tree.

The spruce tree was transplanted a year or so ago from in the woods to our yard, and has taken hold very well and has grown quite a bit already. We were just hoping not to have a tall spindly tree, but a shorter, fuller tree.

The tree is about 3 feet tall now and I don't know if it is a good time of year to trim the top, or if this will hurt the tree. It is quite cool here still (still getting snow), but the deciduous trees are starting to bud.

I would be interested in any advice you could offer. Thanks so much!

A: Usually, dwarf Alberta spruces require no pruning whatsoever, other than to remove a dead branch.

They grow very slowly (2-4 inches per year max), and maintain a very tight, conical shape throughout their lifetime.

Since they grow so little and so slowly, one slip with the pruners may make a hole in the plant, and they do NOT fill in holes very well, if ever.

I would be very hesitant to prune much of anything, if at all. If a twig grows out too far and sticks out visually, you could snip that one back a little, but other than that you shouldn't need to prune it.

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Tom Mugridge

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