Serbian Spruce has deer-rubbed branches in the middle. Pruning Q

meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevationApril 15, 2014

I have two with the problem. One never regrew any of the middle branches all last year, after being rubbed the winter before this one. The one rubbed this winter may act similarly, I take it now.

They are both about 3 feet tall, but their calipers are getting a bit large to feel good about just hacking off the top and making a new leader (without expert advice). Their leaders are doing great, btw, lol. So are the bottom branches. Lovely, in fact :)

I do not know anything about pruning these. Conifers intimidate me that way. I had hoped the other would just fill in by itself, at least a little, and then I'd think of pruning. It didn't fill in any. Help!

Oh, and I'll definitely start protecting my spruces from this! I thought the 2nd victim was safe in its location, but I now realize that my deer have gotten more and more bold the more I plant (naturally). It's a regular buffet here now!

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

we really need a pic.. to understand this...

most conifers do NOT have dormant buds... which can trigger.. to fill in spots .. like other trees or shrubs ...

so you might be looking at this bald patch for a lot of years before the tree droops larger branches above.. down into the bare part ...

and if that is true.. then its all about whether you want to look at it .. for that long ..

again.. all pure speculation.. w/o a pic ...

all that said.. when this thing is a hundred feet tall ... that spot will not be an issue ... but can you wait that long ...


    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 12:49PM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

I can't wait till it's quite that tall, lol. I could wait a long time if it will end up looking like something. My gardens are not very mature, so many things look a little silly right now (the spacing looks like too much in between small plants, etc).

Dumb question here: will that spot stay at the same height it is now, or close to it? Will the tree just grow taller from above the bad spot? That might work fine if so. The lower branches want to spread a lot, so if that is going to happen above the bad spot, I get what you are saying about the drooping. Yay!

I don't have a photo account I can use, but the trees look a LOT like this one, but mine are a little smaller and the bare spot isn't so large (but it's still quite noticeable at this point). The lower branches on mine already spread more than on this one, too:

Thanks! Any tips or suggestions very welcomed. Like I say, I don't know much at all about how large conifers grow! I'm used to shrubby junipers :)

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 9:50PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

tree trunks do not grow up.. they expand out ... thicken

all height is achieved from the buds at the top elongating ...

get us a pic.. if and when you can ...


    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 6:41AM
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