Pruning suggestions

whaas_5a(5A SE WI)September 17, 2011

Hey folks, there a few plants that have caught my eye that may need some pruning next year.

Here is Picea glauca 'Pendula'. I'm thinking I should leave this but it seems like a vigorous branch so I wasn't sure if I should prune it out to maintain balance.

Here is Picea pungens 'The Blues'. There wasn't a leader on this plant. Basically a Y. I'm also thinking about leaving this one as well but again its quite vigorous so I'm not sure if I should clip that co-dom to the right.

This is Picea orientalis 'Atrovirens'. Not sure if I should cut that co-dom back to where I have the red line or if I should cut it back to the trunk?

Also there is quite a gap to the left side. Should I prune to help fill in that area? Sure would be nice if it sets some buds there!

Recommendations sure are appreciated!

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dcsteg(5 Shawnee, KS.)

Whass, this is the way I would handle your concerns. Others would do it different.

1st photo...I would remove that one. Out of character with the rest of plant.

2nd. I would leave it. If you grow it prostrate it will lay in. If you go vertical you will need to re stake it. You will never straighten that so its acceptable the way its staked now. I would re-stake with stake tied to trunk. Try to suck that y up close to the trunk and take as much of that out of there as you can. Use a little caution and don't break it. It may take several attempts to straighten that up. It can be done.

3rd. Cut it back to the trunk. If mine I would pull the top new leader back to vertical with small piece of bamboo and stretch tape secured to the trunk. That conifer wasn't taken care of in the field. The secondary leader should have been removed several years ago. Having two main leaders in computation with each other is the result of weak top growth. With that removed it will soon sort itself out.


    Bookmark   September 17, 2011 at 6:15PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Dave, appreciate the feedback.

On the P. pungens. You're just saying straighten up the leader to left correct?

Oh and as far as timing on the pruning...late March sound about right?


    Bookmark   September 17, 2011 at 10:49PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

some of us .. with limited space.. like dave.. belong to the perfect form is important group .. all the power to 'em

others of us.. with space.. belong to the weirder the better club ...

neither is right.. neither is wrong ...

dave said: 1st photo...I would remove that one. Out of character with the rest of plant. ===>>> sorry.. in my club.. that is the only character on that plant .... it can be removed any time in the next decade or two.. i would leave it ...

the blues.. to early to tell.. but it looks awful close to the house ...

last pic .... i dont see any leader buds ... in fact the right looks like it was already removed ... i would wait to see which responds best to spring growth.. before i came to any conclusions.. what if the taller one fail completely.. and you have hacked off the lower already???? .. one might argue that the shorter of the two.. has the potential to become the straighter of the two ...

i think you dreams of pruning are VERY premature ... many of us would argue that there should be no pruning on any recent transplant.. as all chlorophyll production feeds the roots for faster establishment ...


ps: others of us belong to the 'i will do that later club' .. and end up never doing it.. joining the 'weirder the better' club by default .. rotflmbo ...

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 8:26AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

agree all with Dave.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 9:07AM
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dcsteg(5 Shawnee, KS.)


A little more to the mix.

The 1st. photo. Picea glauca 'Pendula' is a very formal growing cultivar. You don't want any weird appendages hanging off this one if your going after the correct look.

Yes, Picea pungens, stake the left one to vertical if that's the way you want it to go. The closeness to the house could become an issue 7-10 years from now. I would move it at least another 3ft away when the leaves fall.

Last photo...both leaders have been sheared but both appear strong and viable. I still would start training a new leader on the left. Removal of the right, for me, it would be gone. By spring the plant will know it only has one way to go...and it will. This cultivar tends to be pyramidal and formal in growth. No weird look is advised here either.

If you want weird in orientalis buy a 'Nutans'

I prune when leaves drop. By spring the cut is hardened off.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 9:33AM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Guys, as always appreciate the help.

Ken, I hear what your saying on the 'Pendula'. That is why I considered keeping it. On the other hand, to Dave's point, as the plant grows it will have a formal look and it will only have a one odd appendage.

I checked that 'Atrovirens' and it is has a new bud points straight up so hopeufully that pushes a new leader. The 'Pendula' is the same way.

The 'The Blues' is quite close to that post but 15' from the house. I plan to move it in spring.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 10:41AM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Whatever you decide to prune or not prune is fine. With all these plants new this year I wouldn't prune anything until March of 2013...maybe even '14. That would be when I'd move 'The Blues' as well.


    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 6:01PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

I think I ended up in the middle with some of the pruning but most of you have different opinions on the season in which to prune.

I know with decidious its a horse a piece in most cases but what about conifers? Do certain species react differnt when you prune in late fall vs. late winter?

I'm keeping the 'Pendula' branch...I tied in closer to the trunk and it actually looks normal now.

The 'Atrovirens' co-dom is getting cut back to the trunk. TJ, you know I don't have the patience to wait that long! At best I can wait until late winter!lol!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 1:37PM
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