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Trimming Bottom Branches of Blue Spruce

Hi friends!!! I have several blue spruce trees growing in my garden and I love looking at them. I like their thick blue needles and conical shape very much.

A blue spruce is a rather large tree and being planted too close to the sidewalk can make it difficult to pass. One solution to this problem is to remove the lower branches and I will talk about that in this article.

Trimming bottom branches of Blue Spruce

Cases where trimming of the bottom branches is required

The most common reason for removing the lower branches of a blue spruce is that it is too large. Blue spruce trees are conical in shape and the lower tiers of branches are the largest. Very often they block a walkway or the passage of a car through the yard.

In this case, owners usually remove several lower tiers of branches. As a result, the width of the spruce tree becomes almost halved. This increases the free space around it.

The second case is when the lower branches get in the way of mowing the lawn. Over time, the lower branches become heavy and almost lie on the ground, thus making it difficult to mow the lawn. In this case, only the lowest tier of branches should be removed.

The third case is when the spruce is sick. It happens that the place where the blue spruce grows is damp and poorly ventilated. As a result, the tree is affected by fungal diseases. By removing the lower tier of branches you can achieve good ventilation of the crown, which will reduce the possibility of diseases.

The best time for trimming

The best time to cut off the lower branches of a blue spruce is in the first half of spring. At this time, the tree has not yet started to produce young shoots and has plenty of energy to recover. By cutting the spruce in spring you can be sure that the wounds will dry up and grow back a little by winter.

The second period is late summer or early fall. Even though there is not much time before winter, the spruce will be able to heal the wounds a bit.

What you don’t want to do is prune in the winter because the wounds may not heal and start to rot. Also, after pruning, the tree is weakened and this will have a bad effect on its overwintering.

Summer is not a good time to remove branches as the tree may lose too much sap. As a result, some branches may dry out.

Avoid hot and humid days for pruning. It is better to choose a morning on a cloudy day, but without rain.

How do I trim the bottom branches?

Step 1

Cut off the lowest tier of branches using a hand saw. Make the cut as close to the trunk as possible, but without damaging it. Cut off all the branches in the lowest tier. The wounds should be as small as possible.

Step 2

Remove the cut branches and look at the blue spruce. If you are satisfied with everything, continue. Cut the second tier of branches starting from the bottom. Then remove the third, but remember that in one year you can cut no more than 30% of the crown. Otherwise the tree may die.

Step 3

Clean everything around the spruce and inspect the trunk for damage. Treat all wounds with an aqueous solution of multipurpose fungicide. Afterward, allow the wounds to dry out a bit. Do not cover them with sealer or anything similar.

Tools

The first tool you need is a saw. Choose a saw with fine teeth to make the cuts as neat as possible. The saw should be well held in your hand to make a smooth cut.

The second tool is a pruning shears. You will use them to remove small branches or shorten long branches to get to the trunk. Make sure the pruning shears are of good quality and make neat cuts.

You may also need a knife. You can use it to cut off anything that gets in the way while you are working. You can also use a knife to remove burrs on the bark.

I also recommend using gloves. First, they protect your hands from possible injury. Secondly, you will not stain your hands with gum that will appear from the wounds.

Before working, sharpen the tool well. This will ensure more accurate cuts and accordingly faster their healing. Also be sure to disinfect the tool with antiseptic.

Pros

The first benefit of pruning the lower branches of the blue spruce is to free up the space around it. Very often, inexperienced gardeners plant blue spruce too close to the house or driveway and over time it becomes a problem. By removing the lower branches you will maximize the space in your yard and you won’t have to replant or cut the spruce.

The second advantage is the appearance of the tree. After such trimming, the spruce will look like a candle. Many people consider this look very sophisticated and original. In my garden several spruce trees are cut in this way and I am very happy with their appearance.

The third advantage is the aeration of the crown. The removal of the lower tier improves the air movement inside the crown, which in turn reduces the possibility of fungal disease.

Cons

The appearance of a blue spruce without lower branches is both an advantage and a disadvantage. The fact is that many people consider this look not very beautiful or even strange. There is no point in arguing about it, you just need to be aware of it.

The second disadvantage of pruning the lower branches is the possibility of infecting the tree with diseases. After pruning, a certain number of wounds are formed on the tree through which fungal spores can get under the bark. As a result, the tree can become very sick.

To prevent this from happening, avoid pruning the spruce in wet weather. After pruning, treat the wounds with fungicide.

This is the end of my story and I hope you have found useful information here. I wish you good luck and all the best.

Curious

Sunday 9th of July 2023

Will a blue spruce grow back branches if you accidentally cut back too much? Past the needles? Thanks.

Igor Viznyy

Monday 10th of July 2023

Hi Curious, Blue spruce can grow branches after pruning. However, it all depends on how much you cut it. It can also take a long time to regrow.