Pruning: over pruned Dwarf Alberta Spruce

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by Jane E, Jun 20, 2012.

  1. Jane E

    Jane E Member

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    Niagara Falls
    My tree is about 19 years old. I happened to read online this spring that they only stay dwarf if you prune them. Oh dear - I didn't know that. So in mid May I pruned - radically - too radically. I ought to have read a "how to" first, but unfortunately I didn't. Poor tree. I just read in your forum archives that they will not sprout from old wood. Oh dear. I have been watering and watering and to be sure, I am not getting any new growth in the radically pruned areas which is most of the tree. Any ideas would be appreciated as the tree is planted in the upper level tier of my rock garden and digging it up will be an almost unsurmountable task. I will have to dismantle the upper right tier of the rock garden, and then even then I might not be able to get it out. I feel awful about this.
     
  2. dt-van

    dt-van Active Member 10 Years

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    If your tree is overpruned it needs less water, not more. Water is drawn up from the soil and evaporated through the needles, less foliage means less evaporation. Overwatering will just increase the stress further and may drown the roots or encourage fungal disease. At this point your plant may be a goner, but if it isn't the best thing to do is leave it alone to recover as best it can. If your soil is good the plant doesn't need any fertilizing, especially if you want it to grow slowly.

    A dwarf Alberta spruce plant is genetically dwarf and it will never get anywhere as big as a regular Albeta spruce even without pruning. This is true of most dwarf plants unless they are bonsai dwarfed by regular root and branch pruning, or a naturally stressful envionment like a rocky seacoast. Regular pruning can help keep your dwarf tree smaller and more shapely, but once it gets too big replacement is usually a better option than hard pruning. In fact a plant which survives hard pruning may grow faster and regain its old size in only a few years because it already has the roots to support a larger crown.
     
  3. Jane E

    Jane E Member

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    Thank you very much for the information. I guess I will wait and see, and perhaps replace the tree in the fall.
     

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