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can i prune a bluespruce it is about 12ft x8ft with a double uneaven crown i would like it a little smaller



Pruning Spruces is something of a fine art. It will probably be impossible to make it look like a classical Christmas tree again, but, if your landscape design permits, you can make it look like a weather-beaten Alpine tree. I would look up books on bonsai pruning techniques, paying particular attention to the instructions and caveats attached to spruces and firs.

Things to remember:
Any branch pruned back beyond the needles won't sprout out. When shortening branches, it is best to cut them back to side branches.
Because of the above, bald spots rarely fill in. If you remove one of the double crowns, the remainder will have a flat side, which will need to be designated the "upwind side" of the tree, and the rest will need to be pruned accordingly.
It is difficult--if not impossible--to shorten a spruce tree and still have it look natural. A new leader (or two or three) may grow, but it will leave a kink in the outline, and it will be difficult to shape the rest of the tree to fit. one way to get around this is to strip the bark off of the present top of the tree, and paint it with lime-sulfur twice a year, to preserve it, and prevent disease. With a little breaking and carving of the dead wood, it can look like it was struck by lightening in the past, and be as short as you want it to be. In bonsai, this is called a "jin", and is an essential technique for adding character and apparent age to a tree.

Rocks, a rough lawn, and informal flowerbeds will complete the Alpine meadow look.

14 Mar, 2011

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