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New growth on Norway Spruces

Posted by gnomeabram 5 WI (My Page) on
Sat, May 26, 07 at 20:45

I was out checking my young Norways this evening and I noticed that on the ones that have had the most growth so far (4-6"), buds are already forming on the new growth. Is this a signal that these trees are already finished with new growth this year or do they keep growing until a certain date?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: New growth on Norway Spruces

Actually, next year's buds began to form as soon as the new growth started,or even before, but you may not have seen them because they were so small and hidden in the bunch of needles that had not yet fully come out. I think with seedlings this may not always be true.

Anyway, the shoots should continue to elongate for quite a while yet. I am not sure when you planted these--are they new this year? If so the elongation period may not be as long as for more established trees. Where I have my Norway spruce trees on the Allegheny Plateau at 2,700 feet elevation in western MD the shoots continue to elongate until at least the end of July, and more often until mid August, and sometimes even later on some trees. They finish somewhat later than white pine and much later than red pine.

--Spruce


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RE: New growth on Norway Spruces

Thanks so much for the informative reply. This is the first time I've paid much attention to spruce growth and find it really fascinating.

It seems that new growth for a given twig during the season is "pushed out" from the original bud location, instead of extending from the tip of the new growth. Is this correct?

The Norways that are most advanced are among the ones that I planted last year. Surprisingly, many of the advanced ones had moderate deer damage last winter. A lot of undamaged ones budded much later and have only put on an inch or two so far, but seem to be accelerating during the past week.

Most of this year's transplants are doing OK so far, but a few have yet to put on an inch of growth, and one is just budding now.

Here's a picture from a week ago of a deer-damaged Norway that is doing great.

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RE: New growth on Norway Spruces

Generally, all the growth a Norway Spruce produces in a year is contained within the bud, but it does take a number of months for this growth to expand fully.

I don't ever recollect seeing lammas growth (second flush) on Norway Spruce, but it does occur on fast-growing young trees of some spruces, notably Sitka Spruce; this pic shows a second flush expanding at the end of September, at the apex of the spring growth of the same year.

Resin


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RE: New growth on Norway Spruces

The new growth looks great!

I was told by my landscaper that if you want the tree to fill out and get more dense, to take a branch and cut the new growth off 1/2 way. And then next year it will form two branches there. Does anyone know if this is this true? I really hope so! (if not I just ruined a lot of new growth!)


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RE: New growth on Norway Spruces

I wouldn't cut back the new growth on a spruce tree. Spruce trees will fill out as they get older and bigger. Some are less dense than others, but heading back the new growth won't do much to make a tree more dense.
Some people shear spruces and pines--This is most often done by Christmas tree growers for a short period before they are sold. Yews take shearing better over the long term.

--Spruce


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RE: New growth on Norway Spruces

Thanks again for the replies.

I was told a while ago (and it makes perfect sense) that it's not a good idea to shear the large varieties of spruces/firs/pines that are to remain in the landscape because eventually they are going to become too tall to shear the top of the tree, and you end up with an odd looking tree which was sheared on the bottom but not at the top. Christmas tree growers can shear because the trees are destined to be cut down before they get too tall.


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RE: New growth on Norway Spruces

"I was told a while ago ..."

Yep, that's right. A couple of years ago someone posted some pics of absolutely awful-looking trees that had suffered this, titled "Shear madness" or similar. Long since dropped off the end of the last page, sadly.

Resin


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RE: New growth on Norway Spruces

  • Posted by jimkw 5 - Mid Ohio (My Page) on
    Tue, May 29, 07 at 13:33

I sheared some Norway Spruces one year much like you would trim a yew. The next year I got very little growth on the Spruces, but the following year they were fine and it's now two years later and they are fine. They are now way too tall to do the tops.

I think the smaller they are when you plant them, the better they do. One year I bought six small ones for $15 each and two bigger ones for $40+ each. Three years later the cheaper ones are bigger than the more expensive ones. I just put in ten more that cost $20 each and come in the peat pots. I think they do better than the ones that are balled and burlapped.


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RE: New growth on Norway Spruces

Actually I wasn't referring to shearing off all the new growth. I meant taking maybe a couple branches, where the tree may be sparse (due to nearby broken/dead branches, etc.), and pruning 1/2 of the new growth on that branch so that next year it will form two branches there, thus filling the tree in better where it is not as dense. Sorry if I wasn't clear on this. Anyway, this is what the landscaper told us to do with a few of the Douglas Firs that we have, where the high winds broke a lot of branches (some of them large) and now there are ugly openings and bare sections of the tree which look horrible.

Has anyone ever pruned the new growth to form denser branches? (or is my landscaper full of it? lol)


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RE: New growth on Norway Spruces

For me cutting off the ends of branches on a Norway spruce or a blue spruce would disfigure the tree, perhaps permanently. One of the beauties of a spruce tree is the sweeping branches reaching outward. If these are cut back, causing the branch to fork, it takes away from this effect, and could result later on in these forked branches crossing each other.

I was once driving along with a friend and pointed out an astonishingly beautiful Norway spruce tree with wonderful weeping branchlets. This person told me she thought the tree was ugly, and added that she did not like trees that had any space between the branches. So, beauty may be in the eye of the beholder. If you want a dense tree with no space between the branches maybe some other kind of conifer would be better for you.

--Spruce


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RE: New growth on Norway Spruces

"For me cutting off the ends of branches on a Norway spruce or a blue spruce would disfigure the tree, perhaps permanently. One of the beauties of a spruce tree is the sweeping branches reaching outward. If these are cut back, causing the branch to fork, it takes away from this effect."

Agree 100%!

Why do christmas tree growers not understand this??

Resin


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RE: New growth on Norway Spruces

Hmm, that is interesting. Thanks for the insight guys!

By the way, is the growth pattern of Douglas Firs the same as Norway Spruce? Or does the Norway Spruce have more open branches? My next door neighbor has small Norway Spruces and I have small Doug Firs. Right now they look to be similar, but as they get larger, I am wondering if one will be more dense than the other.


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RE: New growth on Norway Spruces

"By the way, is the growth pattern of Douglas Firs the same as Norway Spruce?"

Pretty much the same. Norway Spruce does perhaps have a greater tendency to symmetrical whorls of branches. There is a lot of overlap in which is the more open, with individual trees of either being more or less open than other individuals of either species.

Resin


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baby Norway Spruce

Fascinating thread. There's been so much pro-Norway-spruce posting on this forum that I finally bought one and planted it about a month ago:

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Hope it does well. There was a post about how in the PacNW the trees most likely to thrive are sequoiadendron, deodar and Norway Spruce, so that's what I'm counting on peppered throughout my yard. Thanks for all this super info!


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Strange shape

Here's my baby Norway Spruce now -- strange shape, some branches curling up at odd angles. Gradually branches straightening.


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RE: New growth on Norway Spruces

cascadians:

Very pretty young NS trees. They will develop long branches that will probably have a graceful swweep slightly down, then out, and then finally more or less upward. And with luck (in my opinion) some nice weep in the secondary branches. In about three years that pattern will show some signs of developing.

--Spruce


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RE: New growth on Norway Spruces

Thx Spruce! Your specialty is so helpful! Been worried and can now relax. Yea!


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RE: New growth on Norway Spruces

Hmmm interesting thread! I don't like to see such fine trees pruned,to me its like removing the feathers from a bird; let them fly!


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