When to prune Norway Spruce in lower Michigan
This topic contains 6 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Anonymous 7 years, 10 months ago.
- March 28, 2011 at 1:51 pm #29133
I have several large Norway Spruce that need pruning around the bottom to about three feet up. The deer have damaged and disfigured them this winter. Is now the time to prune or should I live with them this summer and prune in late fall?
JosieMarch 28, 2011 at 9:01 pm #29657
Since you are pruning off dead and damaged wood, the timing is not that important, however in general, you should prune spruce in late winter/early spring before they begin new growth. Now will probably be a good time for you in Michigan. Don’t prune live wood in the fall, as the tree (like deciduous trees) does most of its new growth in the spring and will leave the scars exposed through the winter.March 30, 2011 at 5:10 pm #29660
Thank you. Your answer helps me but I do have another question. I have been reading about a fungus that Norways are prone to and sometimes worsens after pruning. It is cytospora. Do you know anything about it?
Also, when do I prune dead wood off river birches? To me dead is dead and should come off but I don’t know if the borers agree with me. Don’t want to issue an invitation to them.
Thanks.March 30, 2011 at 8:00 pm #29661
To help prevent a Cytospora infection you should only prune during dry weather. Disinfect your pruning shears between cuts (if you think the tree may already be infected) and always between individual plants (in case one of the spruce is infected). Spruce are less susceptible to infection if they are kept free from stress, so make sure they get enough water during droughts. Here is the Ohio State Fact sheet on Cytospora infection of spruce.March 31, 2011 at 11:59 am #29662
Thank you for your help.
I don’t think I have cytospora yet on any of my spruces. I do know that I have needlecast on my blue spruce trees. I have treated them with not much success, if any.
I sprayed last spring with Bravo. It’s a wait and see game now. I don’t have much hope that it helped them. I have sprayed with fungicides before and have not seen any noticeable change in the disease progression. I’ll let them stand in my yard until they become so unsightly I have to take them down. So sad. I have twenty-five or more that I have planted or had planted over the years.April 1, 2011 at 6:15 pm #29665
The same pruning practices should be used to control the needlecast. (Disinfect using 70% isopropyl alcohol.) Also you should try to improve the air circulation around the blue spruce by mowing underneath and if possible cutting down bushes or other trees that are crowding the infected spruce. Michigan State has some detailed information about the timing of fungicide applications here that may help you.April 6, 2011 at 11:27 am #29671
Thank you. The MSU article was helpful to me. Maybe I will spray again in May like I did last year. Sometimes I think it is a losing battle. My beautiful trees continue to look more and more shabby. That’s gardening tho. There seems to be an insect or disease for every living thing.
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