Questions from a newbie Re: Blue Spruce

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by SideshowRob, Oct 12, 2006.

  1. SideshowRob

    SideshowRob Member

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    Hello all, I'm new to the site and by the looks of things I will be here often looking for advice and suggestions.
    My first questions are about trimming/pruning. I have a small business, and part of my job is tree trimming/ removal.
    One of my clients has a 30yr old Blue Spruce (she planted it) I had to straighten the tree after a wind storm tilted the entire tree. I have since straightened the tree and it is doing very well, I told her though that she may want to look at trimming the very bottom of the tree, as the low branches are actually growing along and into the ground. Am I correct? I have done this in the past with excellent success, however this tree is a member of the family, so I need to be certain. Questions are 1. Should I trim it? 2. How high up should I go? (I want to just do the very bottom) 3. When is the best time? (I was always under the impression that spring and fall were the best times, but again I need to be certain).
    I look forward to any advice or assistance you can offer.

    Thanks
    Sideshow
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Would be far more impressive with basal sweep of branches retained, instead of receiving far-too-common, ugly limbing up.
     
  3. kalmia

    kalmia Active Member

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    limbing up can be done to look nice, but most people can't do this.

    As for time, I would prefer winter, maybe January or February.
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Old, roundish specimens of both broadleaf and coniferous evergreens - if they have colorful or interesting bark - can be made more appealing by removal of smaller, lower branches to expose trunk. Cutting off large limbs so large opening in the bark are left would not be an enhancement. Nor would limbing up a kind that does not produce attractive bark.

    Younger, pyramidal or conical specimens of all kinds are reduced in ornamental value by being skinned up. Such shapes are not pleasant interrupted and perched in the air, nor are youngsters likely to have good-looking bark developed (varies with the kind, of course, certain pines have good bark while still young).
     
  5. SideshowRob

    SideshowRob Member

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    Thanks for the advice.
    I don't have to trim the tree, but I thought maybe the lower branches that are partly in and along the ground would be a hinderence for the tree, is that at least somewhat truthful or am I just wrong here? And I'm not certain right now but I believe a few might be dead, if so, is there a rule of thumb for trimming? At trunk, a few inches out??
    Thanks again everyone.
     
  6. kalmia

    kalmia Active Member

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    don't make it a flush cut. Cut a little bit out. It doesn't need to be 6 inches or anything that far. Maybe an inch or so, depending on the taper of the branch.

    You could leave all the branches that hang a foot from the ground and higher. It won't hurt its appearance to remove those that are right along the ground. After cutting the higher braches are likely to droop a bit anyway.
     
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    There is no need to cut branches on the ground, and there are reasons not to - as I have mentioned. Pyramidal evergreens are not improved when made to appear as though floating above the ground. And if some of these low branches on the specimen in question are actually rooted into the ground (layered), the tree will certainly not benefit from having these severed and uprooted. Dead branches can certainly come out.

    The apparently universal desire to limb up everything, so that it is more similar to a parasol acacia - regardless of what it is or how it grows - must stem from our origins on the African savannah. Likewise we also want to grow grass everywhere, including under shrubs and trees. This results in many unfortunate specimens being limbed up so mowing can take place right next to the stem(s).

    Today I walked past a grouping of small hollies, doubtless spontaneous (weedy) seedlings that had been limbed up so that fully half of the branches of each had been removed. Now they look like pointers, a line with a triangle on top. Not a relaxing effect.
     
  8. rich1959

    rich1959 Member

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    Given my background as a board certified security professional I have a different perspective on limbing up. To eliminate hiding places for criminals (and unfortunately no environment is completely immune) whenever possible, security professionals recommend that foliage creating cover from the ground be allowed to grow no higher than three feet and foliage which grows from above be trimmed to no lower than seven feet. This creates an effective window through the cover that a criminal would otherwise use to his advantage in the perpetration of a crime. Obviously it is always a challenge to balance practicality and aesthetics.

    I had a similar question regarding limbing up on a different thread that I started before I found this one, my apologies. My questions on that thread have now been answered here. Thank you.
     
  9. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Cops would have us all have empty front yards, fully open to the street. The funny part is that crooks can also see into such places easily, look them over. When I walk around neighborhoods for exercize, looking at people yards as I go the places open to the street are the ones where I sometimes get self-conscious and suspicious people peering back at me, asking what I'm looking at.
     
  10. rich1959

    rich1959 Member

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    You raise a valid point. If someone can't see your valuables easily they probably won't go out of their way to find out if you have any to steal. As I mentioned, the balance between practicality and aesthetics is always a challenge. Beyond stealing or vandalizing my stuff I am most concerned with the irreplaceable things like my loved ones. If my wife and children can see someone lurking behind the tree in my front yard they are not going to fall victim to that person. If my neighbors, who I know well, see someone doing same I know they would call the police and me. Its a matter of balance between privacy/aesthetics and protection and everyone has their own balancing point.
     

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