The Q&A Archives: Dwarf Alberta Spruce

Question: I have rust/brown tips on my Dwarf Alberta Spruce. This happened last year and this year. Should I trim it off before new growth begins or do I let new growth occur and trim it off later? What is it? I read that these shrubs get this from wind. They are on the south side of the house in the suburbs west of Chicago where we do get alot of wind from.

Answer: It is possible that the needles are drying out because of cold winter winds. You can prune off the winter damage. Here are some general guidelines for pruning evergreens: Prune trees or shrubs of narrow leaf needle type, such as pines, spruce and fir, according to growth characteristics. Prune those that produce side buds on the shoots, such as spruce, fir and Douglas-fir, by cutting the tips back to the desired length in late winter or early spring when buds are dormant. The recommended place for cuts is just above a side bud or side branch. Best wishes with your trees.

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