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Reviving the top of a blue spruce

I am a total novice and got my first garden last year. I got a living Christmas tree which is doing really well in the sun on the patio in a pot with drainage. It's got loads of new soft green branches coming through and there were only a couple of brown branches which I cut back in the spring.


When I put the star on at Christmas I had to cut off the tip of the top prong (I'm sure you know the correct word!). It didn't occur to me to google it first and I also pruned back the not-quite-top branches in spring to give the top bit a bit of prominence thinking that would help it.

I've since looked it up and now know that any branch trimmed won't grow and the tree doesn't like being cut in spring. Whoops.

Today I took a branch near the top and have tied it with string to one of the trimmed branches to try to make that grow into the head branch. What do you reckon? Right idea? Also the head branch which is still on the tree snapped a bit at the base when I was bending it into place. Shall I leave on to keep the wood from being bare or does it breed germs as it decays?


  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 2,999
    Hello QQO !!!

    I'm a little confused here ; your thread title states Blue Spruce (Picea pungens) and yet you refer to it as a Christmas tree with new soft green shoots . Either way , they're both Picea species .
    It is highly unlikely that a lateral shoot will make an apical (leader) shoot . This has been tried in the nursery trade with the exceptionally beautiful Picea breweriana ; the grafting of lateral stems onto Picea abies (Xmas tree) stock . The grafted piece (when it eventually sorts itself out)(!) , can take up to 15-20 years before making a sometimes futile attempt at vertical growth . The weeping stems cascade down one side giving an extremely unpleasant effect .
    Either way , whichever tree you have I personally don't think it's worth the effort of attempting what you envisage .
    They are cheap enough to consider purchasing a new one !

  • Thank you - to be honest it was a stretch to recognise it was a tree! The new shoots are green initially but going blue to match the rest of the tree as they establish. I turned the pot around so the south facing side with the most growth is now north facing. I thought this might try to persuade my nominated top branch from previous south side to head towards the sun and sort it's posture out a bit.

    I think either way I'll try to see how long it can be happy wonky and headless
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