ArboristSite.com Sponsors
 
 


Pruning large Norway, White Pine, and Spruce Trees - Need Advice

Discussion in 'Arborist 101' started by jimmy245, Apr 16, 2013.

  1. jimmy245

    jimmy245 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2013
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Around our local golf course, we have hundreds of Norway, White and Spruce trees (in Minneapolis area). Many of these trees are 50 to 80 feet tall. Where the trees are thick, lower branches are dead, I assume due to lack of sun. Somebody, professing to know a lot about evergreens, told me that under no circumstances are you to ever prune off the lower dead (or live) brances of any of these trees. He said that it "stresses" them. He brought up point that we have been pretty dry around here for past 5 years which compounds the "stress" problem. As a novice in the tree pruning department, I simply nodded my head.

    He then showed me where a limb had been cut off next to trunk of a large white pine (probably cut off 5 or more years ago). He pointed to the crusted over sap around where the cut had been made. I said that that was obviously a live branch when it had been cut. He agreed but still insisted that you should never cut off the dead branches even if you make the cut 2 or more inches away from the trunk. To me, this just defies logic. I am talking about bone dry, brittle, barkless branches that simply cannot have any life in them. How can it hurt the tree to remove these branches which become an eyesore.

    Then, somewhere on web, I read where it is okay to trim the live branches of these trees, but it is best to do it when the "sap is not running". I would assume this to mean in the wintertime, however, I am not sure. I also read where if you don't trim the dead branches, they can become a nesting place for parasites.

    I would appreciate some real expert advice regarding the pruning and care of these large evergreens. Also would like a recommendation as to a good book that covers these topics.

    Thanks,

    Jim
     
  2. CG Racing

    CG Racing ArboristSite Lurker

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Saline, MI
    I also am interested in reading a response to this.
     
  3. Djlunchbox

    Djlunchbox ArboristSite Lurker

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Central CT
    me 3. if they are truly dead branches, I see no ill effects.
     
  4. Del_

    Del_ Tree Freak

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2002
    Messages:
    20,590
    Likes Received:
    2,272
    Location:
    Where the universes are.
    Me 4.
     
  5. Twindad

    Twindad ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    Messages:
    155
    Likes Received:
    72
    Location:
    Appalachia
    I'm not professing to be an expert, but I've been pruning the lower dead limbs from white pines for years and have not noticed any ill effects.
    You can also prune the live limbs as long as you don't damage the branch collar. It is certainly preferable to do this during the winter or you will get A LOT of sap flow which can slow the healing process.
     
  6. TheJollyLogger

    TheJollyLogger Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2009
    Messages:
    1,786
    Likes Received:
    830
    Location:
    Georgetown TX, Fairbanks AK
    Dead limbs are def not a problem, just don't cut into the branch collar. As far as green limbs, this isn't the ideal time of year, as there is more sap running in the spring.
     
  7. jimmy245

    jimmy245 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2013
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Thanks

    Thanks everyone for the advice. It all makes sense.

    Jim
     
  8. CG Racing

    CG Racing ArboristSite Lurker

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Saline, MI
    Thanks for the help. I have about 100 spruces that I will be trimming soon.
     
  9. Zale

    Zale Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,648
    Likes Received:
    752
    Location:
    Darnestown, MD
    If someone tells you to "never" do something, remember there are no absolutes.
     
  10. miko0618

    miko0618 ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2013
    Messages:
    443
    Likes Received:
    73
    Location:
    pa
    you should remove dead limbs. as the tree grows, it will grow over where the limb was. if the dead limb is still there, it will prevent this. the longer the dead limb is there, the longer the cavity is exposed inside the branch collar. remove them. and you can definitely trim live limbs. just nothing huge.
     

Share This Page