We’ve noticed what looks like a branch from a regular spruce tree, growing off a branch on our Dwarf Alberta Spuce tree. Is this a common occurrence and how would you explain it?
Your Dwarf Alberta Spruce, or Picea glauca ‘Conica’, is undergoing a phenomenon called genetic reversion. This process which can be described as looking like “a tree growing out of a tree” occurs when a cultivar that was originally produced from a genetic mutation reverts back to the species’ normal growth, in this case a white spruce. When a reversion such as yours occurs, it is recommended to prune the branch back to the point where the reversion originated. Do not worry as this is not an uncommon occurance. It is however noteworthy that often reverted shoots grow more vigorously then the rest of the tree, so it is important to prune this section out before it overtakes the tree.