Excessive trimming of branches on dwarf Alberta spruce


Hello, I have a dwarf Alberta spruce tree on the side of my house, about 6’ tall, and a technician from Rogers trimmed some branches without my authorization, leaving a huge hole on the tree.
I would like to get your feedback to know if these branches will ever regrow to close the hole and if the health of this tree can be compromised by this.


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners concerning your dwarf Alberta Spruce.

It is so frustrating to find that your plant was pruned without permission.  Unfortunately, Dwarf Alberta Spruce, (Picea glauca ‘Conica’) like all spruce trees  do not produce new growth on old wood. These trees only produce 2-4” of new growth per year. The following information  on the proper technique for pruning is from one of our archived posts:

These evergreens should be pruned in early spring, when you first notice the new growth appear. It is recommended to only trim back the new growth of the current season. Pinch off the tips of lateral branches to maintain the size of the tree’s height or width by cutting away just the end 1/2 to 1 inch of new growth. By trimming back the new growth that appears on the side branches each year you may keep them from getting much wider than they are now.

Avoid pruning the dwarf spruce back beyond where the needles grow, otherwise the plant may not produce side shoots to fill in the space with fresh growth. If pruning this far into the tree is necessary, then cut the lateral branch cleanly away from the trunk. Too much pruning on dwarf spruce trees can cause the needles to turn brown or die back.

Prune out any dead or diseased branches as well as branches that appear to be rubbing by tracing the affected side branches back to where they extend from a lateral branch. Cut the damaged branch off the tree by making a cut that runs parallel to the lateral branch and just 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the lateral branch.

Your only option is to not prune the new growth from any of the surrounding branches and over many years (remember these are very slow growing trees) the new growth might cover some of the area.

For more information on the proper care of this tree refer to this link.

April 22, 2021