Pruning A Techny Arborvitae and Colorado Globe Spruce

Freshly Pruned Techny Arborvitae and Colorado Globe Spruce
Kevin Next To A Colorado Globe Spruce and Techny Arborvitae

Techny Arborvitae, Thuja occidentalis ‘Techny’ |

Colorado Globe Spruce, Picea pungens ‘Globosa’

One has to be more cautious when pruning evergreen conifers than deciduous shrubs. You will be more limited on how much growth you can take off on the conifers.

Deciduous shrubs have latent buds on the stems, and with many different shrub varieties, you can rejuvenate them (start over) by cutting them back dramatically. I’ve cut back deciduous shrubs over 10 feet tall many times, and they (usually) will come back with beautiful, fresh, new growth.

This is different from most conifer evergreens. Depending on the species, you are usually limited in how much growth you can take off, typically only 6-12 inches.

We were able to go beyond this range (at least on the top portions) on the Techny Arborvitae and Colorado Spruce shown here:

On an overgrown Arborvitae like the one you see here, taking off about two feet on the top is about the maximum before you start ruining the form of the tree. It also helps that the plant is taller than our field of vision, so the stubby cuts will not easily be noticed. We were limited to around 8 inches of growth removed on the sides. Anything more, and the plant would likely be ruined.

And this is the difference between deciduous and evergreen. Many evergreens will never rebound with new growth if you try to rejuvenate them like a deciduous shrub. But they can “fill in” from side growth on specific varieties.

The same situation applied to the Colorado Spruce highlighted in the video. We could take off considerable growth on the top without ruining the form but were more limited on the sides.

The best practice for evergreen conifers is to prune them annually with light shearing when they hit the size you want to keep. Letting the evergreens get 12 feet tall and then cutting them back to half that size is usually impossible. Cutting them back to a foot, no way!

Knowing how to prune plants takes some practice, experience, and trial and error. Hopefully, the video and what I have written will help you with future pruning situations and possible dilemmas.

I think they turned out pretty good! But I’ll let you be the judge.

It could always be worse!

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