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Alberta Spruce
Prune with hedge Trimmers?

Q: My alberta spruce trees have lost some of their shape- it seems some areas are more bunched up than others.

Can I prunce the tree with regular hedge trimmers to bring back its previous shape? Thank you.


A: I would discourage you from using hedge trimmers on your dwarf Alberta spruce. Although it may make it easier (and faster) to prune the plant, the end result may be less than desirable.

Instead, use a good pair of hand pruners and carefully prune back each twig that extends out of shape from the plant. This will take more time, but by doing so you will not stimulate excess growth.

Hedge trimmers stimulate excess growth from the tips of each twig that is cut, and the plant gets too thick on the outside.

When pruning, follow each twig that sticks out of place back to its base. You can visualize what the plant would look like if you pruned this twig off by carefully bending it out of the way.

If it looks OK, snip the twig at its base. If not, look to see if there is a different place on the twig to cut back to.

Do this as needed to try to bring the plant back into shape. After a while you should get the hang of it. You can also find How-to-Prune info on the Internet that can give you some more helpful tips.

Your local Extension Agency or Garden Club may put on pruning classes that you might want to sign up for, too.

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Tom Mugridge

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