Blue spruce thats too big

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by Turkey, Sep 24, 2006.

  1. Turkey

    Turkey Member

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    Hi

    Is it possible to reduce height and width of a blue spruce ( I think its a blue spruce), thats too near to my house. Or should it be removed?
     
  2. globalist1789

    globalist1789 Active Member

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    You can cut the top off, but it will never look right if you just leave it. I suggest, if you like to, to take the top off and reseach a bit about bonsai styling. I've seen it done on a number of trees, can be quite nice.
     
  3. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I would suggest to NOT take the top off. if you can cut in to one year old growth and remove some height fine, if you cut in to woody stem or trunk, BAD idea. The tree will resprout multiple tops and be goofed up for a long time, potentially non recoverably (new word, I think I just made it up.)

    if you can post a pic perhaps we can give some insight as to possible pruning?
     
  4. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    If you cut the width without going into old wood (that is, stay where there are still green/blue needles), it will sprout nice new growth. But eventually that growth too will become too wide. You can remove all branches on the house side, until the tree tops the house, that is, and maybe have a nice tree above the house (unless the house is very tall). But personally, I figure if the tree is too close, it's too close and should be removed.
     
  5. globalist1789

    globalist1789 Active Member

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    You'll note that I DIDN'T say cut the top off and leave it to grow a bunch of tops and look "goofed". People have been cutting off and retraining leaders on conifers for centuries. It's called a "trunk chop" in bonsai.
     
  6. GreenGoose

    GreenGoose Active Member

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    Would raising the canopy of the spruce tree help? That way you get to keep the tree and the offending branches are gone.
     
  7. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Spruces don't have very invasive roots, and don't have a reputation for causing damage to nearby buildings. Unless it is very close, it should be OK to keep it. If it is very close (less than about 3m), then remove it altogether.

    I agree with jimmyq, definitely don't take the top off; globalist's points are fine for bonsai specimens in pots, but they don't work well for trees in the ground (a large part of bonsai care involves root pruning, as well as branch pruning, so it won't work for a large tree in the ground).
     
  8. Turkey

    Turkey Member

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    Hi everyone thanks for your comments, I will post some pictures for comments

    Cheers
     
  9. Turkey

    Turkey Member

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    Hi all

    There is pic attached for comments you can just make out the house behind the tree. The trunk is about 9 yards away from the house and the branches about 4 yard.

    Regards
     

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  10. Turkey

    Turkey Member

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    another view of the tree
     

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  11. smivies

    smivies Active Member

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    Well....it's not a blue spruce (Picea pungens) after all! Its a very nice Blue Atlas Cedar (Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca'). Most of the previous info is not entirely applicable to the Cedar as it is a much bigger tree than a blue spruce would be and it also has a different growth habit (wide upright vs. narrow upright).

    Considering the trunk is 27' from the house and conifer roots aren't terribly invasive, roots shouldn't be an issue. You don't want branches touching the house but overhanging is ok but you still have 12' to go before that happens. As for topping, please don't, it will ruin the form of the tree and considering how far the tree is for the house, it's unnecessary.

    Hire an arborist with the intent to prune to avoid branch contact with the house. If they get at it now instead of later, the tree won't look like it's been butchered after it's been pruned.

    Simon
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2006
  12. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Superb tree, and yes, an Atlas Cedar. Much too nice to cut down! I'd agree with Simon on the way forward.
     
  13. GreenGoose

    GreenGoose Active Member

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    Lovely tree.
    You can have your cake and eat it too if you just raise the canopy to the level of your house gutters or more. That won't affect the natural shape of the tree and may improve the appearance of the tree and house combination.
     
  14. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I would disagree with raising the skirt that high on this tree, it appears it may take it to about halfway up the trunk, not cool IMO. If you can remove branches for clearance selectivly and keep the overall shape I think it would be best. Honestly though, best thing is to get a qualified and reputable arborist in there for an in person look and some suggestions.
     
  15. GreenGoose

    GreenGoose Active Member

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    I dob't know about cool but the house and yard will be brighter and cleaner. The nice thing about raising the canopy is that the Atlas Cedar's characteristic shape will be retained, the area under the tree will get more light, and the remaining branches will need to grow a lot to threaten the house and the tree will reeally only suffer the loss of lower limbs the way it would in a natural forest as other trees blocked light.

    But to each his own.
     
  16. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I havent been to north africa to see the forest that atlas cedar grows in so I will take your word for it that having them limbed up a large part of their trunk is normal for them. I still think its a bad idea. but as you and I say, to each their own. :)
     
  17. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    In the wild they're mixed; the tree density is variable, mostly low enough for trees to retain low branches, but clusters of trees closer to each other do lose their lower branches.

    They get up to a maximum of 40m tall (both in the wild, and in cultivation in Britain), tho' most (again, both) are rather less than that, more typically 20-30m.
     
  18. Dixie

    Dixie Active Member

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    by raising the skirt that high, you could also cause injury to the trunk by exposing it to light and wind that it has never experienced before since it was protected by those lower limbs. it is a lovely tree and wouldn't do any pruning that wasn't necessary. go with smivies opion.
     
  19. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Cedars have quite thick bark, that shouldn't be a problem.
     
  20. GreenGoose

    GreenGoose Active Member

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    http://static.flickr.com/7/9932236_1546fb2391.jpg
    Atlas Cedar Forest image shows the usual bare trunks of forests.
     

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    Last edited: Sep 27, 2006
  21. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    to add without trying to stir the pot. In a mixed stand or forest the canopy of each tree acts with its partners and neighbors to absorb wind energy and light etc. a single tree will react differently to windloading and may have issues with bark and sunburn (although Micheal F pointed out that Cedrus shouldn't have a major issue with sun as they have a relatively thick bark). Is there any chance we could see some further pictures? maybe there is a happy medium that could be reached about how high up to raise the skirt without opening the tree up to problems or creating an aesthetically upleasant look?
     
  22. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I misunderstood your original post and thought you had a small tree.

    With a mature tree, I continue to wonder what is the ultimate purpose is of maintaining a tree that is this big in an urban environment. As I've mentioned before on another thread, my neighbour has a tree that is this big or bigger planted some 4 m from my house (more like your 7 m from his). No one wants to destroy a healthy tree this big, and everyone enjoys the shade, but the fact remains that ultimately, if this remains an urban environment, the tree will have to go as it threatens structures or people and prohibits other activities (or as the owners get too old to be cleaning their eaves five times per year). And the bigger the thing is, the less possible it is to pre-plant replacement stock so that the place doesn't resemble a moonscape when it finally is taken down (if it doesn't fall on the house first). I mean, once you have a 60 foot tree next to your house, what exactly is the purpose of letting it grow to 80 feet or more? How big do you plan to let this tree get? And why?
     

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