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More Pruning Questions

Q: Hi, My Name is Kathy and I am from Eastern Oregon. I just bought 2 dwarf Alberta spruce trees and I would like to shape them.

How do I go about doing that? I would also appreciate any other advise on special care they need.

A:Alberta spruce trees rarely need pruning. Their natural shape is conical, and since they only grow 2-4" per year, they don't get out of shape very quickly.

If you need to prune them, only snip off a little bit If you prune too far back you'll prune into non-productive tissue, and a bare spot may result.

Bare spots almost never fill in on an Alberta spruce, so be careful along these lines.

I would basically just leave them unpruned. As they broaden at the base over time, enlarge the landscape bed they're in to accommodate growth instead of pruning back.

This will develop a nicely-shaped tree over time, with very little need for maintenance on your part.

Q: My Alberta spruce's are 20 years old and are getting too big for the spot they are in. If I prune them drastically will the green come back?

I prune one at the bottom back to almost the end of the branch and it still bald. If I can't reduce their size then I should take them out , correct?

Thank you, Donna

A:I would caution against too vigorous of a pruning. Alberta spruces don't grow very fast, so over-pruning will create a problem.

If the trees are truly too large for their space, I would transplant them elsewhere.

Pruning them to reduce their size will not likely yield the results you seek.

See if someone you know is looking for some nice specimens. They just may be in luck!

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Tom Mugridge

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