Blue Spruce Trimming & Etc.

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by bsinatra24, May 12, 2007.

  1. bsinatra24

    bsinatra24 Member

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    OK, here's the deal. I have, from confirmation thru web searches, a Blue Spruce. It is probably at least 60+ years old; aprox. 45'-55' tall; aprox.15'-18' diameter. The branches begin on the trunk aprox. 5'-6' from the ground. These lower branches' ends curtain to the ground. There are probably 4-5 dead branches from the base up to about 10' (these have been dead for many, many years, and no other ones have died since these). The needles which have fallen off, have not been raked/removed for maybe 10 years; hence there is a tremedous amount of needles piled up from the outer ring to nearly 2' at the trunk base.
    Here's my project: I want to remove all the needles to get back to an even ground surrounding the base/trunk of the tree. I want to cut off branches up to maybe 10" from the ground. And lastly, sticking in those "evergreen nutriant stakes" made by Miracle-Grow.
    Now, some questions.....Is there a certain time of year to do this for optimum results? When raking the needles out, I discovered a kind of generic soil under the thick parts; also some small roots. Is removing all this to get back to ground level going to harm the tree in any way? If I'm not on the right track, what is the correct way to succeed in this process?
    I do not want the tree to die; I want to regenerate it back to a healthy, strong, and vibrant stage. I would appreciate any info/feedback from any of the numerous experts here! Thank you very much for your time & assistance!
    -B
     
  2. globalist1789

    globalist1789 Active Member

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    I don't understand what is wrong with the tree? If you want to take off the dead branches you can do that any time you want. The live ones should wait until next winter. Cleaning up under the tree is no problem, and I doubt that you are raking hard enough to hurt any important roots. I wouldn't think that you would need anything like "evergreen nutriant stakes", and for a tree that size you would need a lot of them to make any difference, no?

    Michael
     
  3. bsinatra24

    bsinatra24 Member

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    Thanks Michael for your input. I guess I'm just concerned about doing so much alteration for a tree that has had idle/no upkeep for such a long time; like I said before, I don't want to damage or hurt it by doing anything extreme. I want to rejuvenate it the best way possible.
    Again, thank you for your advice!
    -B
    P.S. - going by the package, I would need to use 10 spikes; Would there be any harm in using them? I mean, if it can't hurt, why not? (I already bought them:)).
    Thanks again!!
     
  4. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Why would you want to take its dead needles away?. This is a form of mulching and food for it. You are very lucky to have such a tree and branches to the ground as well. I would only remove the dead branches and leave it alone. It seems to me that it has managed very well on its own and maybe its best just not to disturb it.

    I have recently lost a beautiful native tree called a Blackwood (probably about 100 years old) because a neighbour decided they wanted to scrape the ground clear of roots and cut branches off. It is on the boundary and was no where near her house or interfering with anything. I guess I am a little sensitive/ It was a favourite stopping off place for a rare Black cockatoo. Sorry but just my thoughts on it.

    http://www.anbg.gov.au/acacia/species/A-melanoxylon.html

    Liz
     
  5. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I'd agree with Liz - only remove any dead branches, and let it get on with itself.

    Don't buy those "evergreen nutrient stakes". They are the most expensive, and least efficient, form of fertiliser known. Their main benefit is to the pay packets of the directors of Miracle-grow . . . not, to my mind, a worthwhile benefit. Before adding any fertiliser, first get a soil test done to see if it is necessary (in most cases, it isn't); if it does prove to be necessary, use a cheap granular fertiliser.
     
  6. bsinatra24

    bsinatra24 Member

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    Thanks guys for your info. Just a couple of questions...When cutting off dead branches should I apply any kind of application on where it was cut from the trunk? Also the same question if cutting off the live branches? And also, when I cut the dead branches off, there will be a couple of bare spots (very noticeable); my main concern is for the health and longevity of the tree, if trimming up branches will harm those then I won't do that; but if it's just a matter of opinion on how it will look afterwards, then I will trim it up because of its location in the lawn area (mind you, this is in the front yard of a small suburban home; maybe 24' x 30'? I'd like to "open" up the area).
    Another thing, I've been told that the needles contains acids that seep into the ground and can damge/hurt the roots and the tree itself (hence the dead branches, lack of water, etc.); And I'm talking about a LOT of needles, like I said before, at least 2' high at the trunk receding to about 6" near the curtain oukskirts.
    Bottom line, I just want to make sure the tree will be safe; beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
    Thanks again everyone!
    -B
     
  7. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    No, not from either dead or live branches. The tree supplies its own wound sealant (resin, which you will find quite a lot of coming from the cuts).
     
  8. Andrzej

    Andrzej Active Member

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    You are very lucky to have such a big tree!
    We also have one with a few missing branches but only about 14 ft tall.
    I would only remove dead branches, and as I noticed Blue Spruce are shade intolerant and do not like to be pruned.

    Andrzej
     

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