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Spruce Trees

I recieved a norway spruce starter seedling from the arbor foundation which was about 9″ tall. Well I planted it and now is 2 ft tall with about 10 stems. When and how to choose only 1 to actually grow to be a tree. Do I cut down all but 1 or dig it up and remove all but 1 and replant. Do I do this now or wait until it’s larger? Thanks

Comments for Norway spruce

Jun 11, 2020

Great Tree!
by: Jacki Cammidge, Certified Horticulturist

Spruce trees of all kinds are used in landscaping, reforestation and for hedgerows. They are tough, reliable trees.

What you describe is fairly typical of the type of seedling you would get for reforesting, or sylviculture.

These trees are selected from original mother trees in the same area that has been logged, and will have evolved to be hardy to that area. Or at least, that’s the premise. Often, clear cut logging changes the climate completely, and even though the original trees could survive very well, planting tiny seedlings into what amounts to a desert, not so much.

Anyway, this is a typical kind of promotional gambit, giving these trees away so unsuspecting homeowners can struggle with them, and possibly keep them alive for a while, only to find that a twenty year old Norway spruce tree is nowhere near as cute as when it was a seedling. And it gets removed, or chopped down, at great expense to the homeowner. Be careful where you plant this guy!

To decide what to cut off, when the tree is either not just one tree but a bunch of seedlings growing together, or one that has been damaged and sprouting lots of suckers, means removing it from its pot, and checking what’s going on.

I would not do this if the new growth has already emerged. That will kill it. As you didn’t send me a picture of what this looks like, I’m guessing here. I would think that there are multiple seedlings growing in the same pot.

So do this now; decide on the best sprout.

This may or may not be the tallest, although that generally means it’s the strongest.

Cut the rest off, right at the base of the trunk. Use a sharp, clean pair of by-pass pruners, or use a fine toothed saw to cut them off.

You may find that they grow more, but by the time this happens, the newly freed plant will be well ahead of them.