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Martin
Martin, Engineer
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Experience:  i'm 41 and i never stopped studying and experimenting
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I need advice on pruning a blue spruce ever green, located

Resolved Question:

I need advice on pruning a blue spruce ever green, located in Northern Minnesota.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  gpt61356 replied 3 years ago.
What advice do you need?
Expert:  Martin replied 3 years ago.
By pruning, do you mean cutting the top or just removing the bottom branches?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Cutting the top, The bottom of the tree is very full and round just as a tree should be. It has really grown this past year and the top is spindly. It looks like it has one very skinny arm sticking up!
Expert:  Martin replied 3 years ago.
I did this a thousand times (literally :) ).

Ok, so this is just aesthetics and not related to being into electrical line, because if it is don't handle that yourself and call your electric utility company.

I don't really recommend cutting the top of a spruce. If you do a new shoot will happen but it will be a bit off-center on the main trunk and it may induce a weakness that may get the tree to break where it healed if in strong wind or heavy snow load. It's OK if it's less than 2 inches of diameter at the cut but larger than this is not very good for the tree.

I don't know the height of the tree but sometime when they are around 7 feet (but it may happen at all height also) a branch will start that is more upward than others and this can cause the formation of a second head. In that case it's possible to cut it (this may be what you refer to as a the skinny arm).

There is some things that can cause this: The new head was just more vigorous, the original head got dry or got beetles larva or just broke from wind or an heavy bird.

The first thing to do is to see the structure of the see in that area (easier to say than do). You can use binocular or use a ladder but the latter is very dangerous it's really hard to secure one on a spruce. The best is to use a pole saw to make the cut (if you can rent one i recommend the Silky brand, the one with a fox logo).

The procedure will depend on the type of head that formed:

If it's the original head (that can still beef up if you just wait), you need cut it just over the collar of one of the branch at a 30 degree angle so that the healing resin can flow and cover most of the cut section (a plain horizontal cut will not allow the resin to go in the center of the scar by gravity). A new head will form and will be off-center until the tree is older. It's very possible that 2 heads will form and that you will then need to do the other procedure (to not allow other head to form, all other branch in the crown (that level of branches) need to be removed to prevent just one dominant .

If it's a second head, you will need to cut it just next to the collar of the branch that originated it. The angle to cut will be determined by the collar.

Don't cut if it rained that day or the day before as it soften the bark, new bark is easy to rip and you then expose a lot of cambium. Use a saw that cut really well and don't do too fast movement.

Those tree are really resilient to those kind of operation (no need to put paint or anything, resin will be secreted abundantly).

If something is not clear, just ask for precisions.
Martin, Engineer
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 4073
Experience: i'm 41 and i never stopped studying and experimenting
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