Cutting Back Dwarf Spruce: How To Prune Dwarf Spruce Trees
By: Liz Baessler
Dwarf spruce trees, despite their name, do not stay especially small. They don’t reach heights of several stories like their cousins, but they will easily reach 8 feet (2.5 m.), which is more than some homeowners and gardeners bargain for when they plant them. Whether you’re looking to cut back a large dwarf spruce or just keep one nicely shaped, you need to do a little bit of dwarf spruce pruning. Keep reading to learn more about how to prune dwarf spruce trees.
Cutting Back Dwarf Spruce Trees
Can dwarf spruce trees be pruned? That really depends upon what you’re trying to do. If you just want to do some shaping and encouraging bushier growth, then pruning should be easy and successful. If you’re looking to cut back a large or overgrown tree to a more manageable size, however, then you might be out of luck.
Vigorous Dwarf Spruce Pruning
If your dwarf spruce tree is larger than you’d hoped, and you’re trying to cut it down to size, you will probably run into some problems. This is because dwarf spruces only have green needles at the ends of their branches. Much of the interior of the tree is what’s called a dead zone, a space of brown or nonexistent needles.
This is perfectly natural and healthy, but it’s bad news for pruning. If you prune a branch into this dead zone, it will not grow new needles, and you’ll be left with a hole in your tree. If you want to prune your dwarf spruce tree back smaller than this dead zone, the best thing you can do is remove the tree and simply replace it with a smaller tree.
How to Prune Dwarf Spruce Trees
If you just want to shape your dwarf spruce, or if your tree is young and you want to trim it to keep it small, then you can prune with a good amount of success.
Taking care not to cut into the dead zone, cut back any branches that extend beyond the tree’s conical shape. Remove ½ to 1 inch (up to 2.5 cm.) of growth at the tips of the lateral branches (branches that grow out of the trunk). Remove 2 to 3 inches (5-8 cm.) of growth from the ends of side branches (the ones that grow out of the lateral branches). This will encourage thicker, lush growth.
If you have any bare spots, lightly trim every branch around it to encourage new growth to fill it in.
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Dwarf evergreen trees are small, compact trees that are perfect for small gardens or growing in containers. The beauty of planting small trees is that they require little maintenance, are green all year round and don’t take up much space in your yard. Even in large gardens, planting small dwarf evergreen trees can make beautiful garden landscape features.
Right tools are the key to success
For proper trimming, you will need quality tools, such as:
- pruning shears
- garden knife
Use only the right tools from reputable manufacturers, this will allow you to work more relaxed and more comfortable, and your plants will have less damage.
You must sharpen your tools well. Otherwise, the cuts will be of poor quality, and the spruce will not recover well.
Be sure to disinfect your tools before you begin. It’s best to do it with alcohol, and this will protect the plant from possible infection with various diseases.
Additionally, you may need a pruning paste to cover the wounds that remain after you have cut the branches. Pruning paste will accelerate wound healing and prevent pests and diseases from getting there.
The other additional tool that you may find useful is the branch shredder this is a convenient machine it has helped me many times. It can chop spruce branches into small pieces.
How do you prune a dwarf Alberta spruce?
Avoid pruning a dwarf blue spruce unless absolutely necessary. According to North Dakota State University, evergreen trees, and especially blue spruce trees, cannot survive severe pruning, so never cut the branches on a dwarf blue spruce back by more than 1/4 of the length at any one time.
Beside above, can you keep a spruce tree small? Dwarf spruce trees, despite their name, do not stay especially small. They don't reach heights of several stories like their cousins, but they will easily reach 8 feet (2.5 m.), which is more than some homeowners and gardeners bargain for when they plant them.
Likewise, how do you take care of a dwarf Alberta spruce?
Dwarf Alberta spruces will grow in full sun to partial shade. Plant it in well-drained, consistently moist soil. If planted in a container, water when the top 3 inches of soil is dry. Once the plant is growing outside, one problem you may run into with this plant is spider mites.
Can you keep a dwarf Alberta spruce small?
Pros of Growing This Spruce as a Potted Plant Even dwarf Alberta spruce trees can become 12 feet tall and will eventually outgrow most containers, but only after many years have elapsed they stay short for a very long time. Their shape is also compact, which lends itself to growth in containers in strategic places.