The Blue Spruce is one of the most popular evergreens, an ornamental tree that has silvery-blue needles, 3-inch pinecones, and gray or tan bark. These are hardy plants in USDA plant hardiness zones 2 to 7, though the Hoopsii blue spruce can thrive in USDA zones 2 to 8.
They are usually used as Christmas trees, requiring only moderate maintenance with the ability to live for hundreds of years with proper care! One of the ways to care for your blue spruce is through trimming it well. So if you’re planning on trimming bottom branches of blue spruce, read on.
Trimming Bottom Branches of Blue Spruce
There are many reasons why you need to trim the bottom branches of your blue spruce, such as:
- It will create a cleaner and attractive appearance
- Remove all the broken, competing, dead, diseased, and/or insect-infested branches for better growth
- Make it easier to apply mulch and reach underneath your tree
With that in mind, how do you trim the bottom of the blue spruce? Here are helpful tips:
- Prepare sharp and one-hand-operated pruning shears, pole pruner, and gardening/work gloves for safety
- Start off by examining your blue spruce tree, preferable during the winter when it’s dormant, where you can identify all the broken, competing, dead, diseased, and/or insect-infested branches. It’s best to prune and shape the blue spruce in the late winter or early spring months, right before the growing season.
- You will know if a branch is competing with the trunk if it is over 1/3 of the trunk’s diameter. These are what you will remove.
- Remove the mentioned branches using sharp pruning shears while you wear your gloves. Cut dead or diseased branches close to the trunk but after the branch collar, where the branch and trunk connect. Prune broken branches at the break, while with insect-infested branches, prune them close to your tree’s trunk.
- You should also prune dead and diseased branches that bear brown needles using a pole pruner or pruning shears. You should also consider thinning the blue spruce’s canopy to reduce the risk of infection, which is effective when you combine it with fungicidal treatments. If your tree is susceptible to pests, be sure to use proper insecticide and cut the damaged branches to their healthiest points, removing all dead branches entirely.
- The oldest and lower-lying branches should also be removed. You will know if they are getting old when they shed needles often and start losing their natural bluish-green colors.
- When shaping the blue spruce, do so according to its natural taper. Do not prune more than ¼ of the tree’s total crown in one season.
- Trim the branches protruding over the tree’s natural and tapered shape, cutting them at optimal lengths for successful tapering. Also, create even spacing between branches, eliminating the branches in thick sections of your tree so you can match spacing in even thinner areas.
- Use pruning cuts, which will be less visible and more pleasing to look at, especially when the cuts are made closer to the tree trunk. Each cut should be at a slight angle.
- Remember that pruning and shaping blue spruce excessively may cause stress that may end up killing your tree. If your blue spruce was unkempt, shape it in different stages, pruning unwanted branches throughout the years. Never shape your blue spruce by cutting off the top entirely, as this can lead to decay and/or disease.
Wrapping It Up
The blue spruce is quite a beauty, having a mature height of up to 100 feet, perfect to bring out the winter and Christmas vibe! If you want to maintain its health and growth, then pruning and shaping the tree is one of the many ways to do so. By pruning and shaping it properly, you can remove all the pests and broken branches while creating a neater appearance.
I hope that my short guide on trimming bottom branches of blue spruce helped you out. Be sure to follow these tips in the future when you plan on shaping your blue spruce for its health and appearance!