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Tree aphids and christmas tree pruning

I recently rescued a christmas tree that had been sitting for many years in a small pot behind the garage in my neighbour's garden. Unfortunately the roots had grown between the paving stones and had to be severed when the paving was lifted. I have potted it in an old plastic dustbin. The nice green new growth at the end of some of the branches quickly went floppy so I removed the new growth. Surprisingly the tree seems ok except for what I think was a collection of tree aphids mainly on the underside of the branches. I removed these by hand using a damp piece of kitchen towel. Wish I had photographed them but they were attracting wasps so wanted to deal with them immediately. I appreciate that this tree, about 7ft tall, is probably under stress but how is the best way of dealing with tree aphids should they return? I do not have any suitable space to plant this tree in the ground. It was going to be chopped up by my neighbour and I couldn't let that happen! The top vertical branch and some of the top branches are quite sparse and I am also wondering if it can be pruned. Thank you


  • madpenguinmadpenguin Posts: 2,523
    I think you have to ask yourself is it really worth the time and effort to save it.
    It will probably grow but won't look much.
    “Every day is ordinary, until it isn't.” - Bernard Cornwell-Death of Kings
  • CeresCeres Posts: 2,516
    It can't be pruned. Conifers don't produce lush new growth from lower down the trunk so if the top is sparse, then that is how it will stay. Now it's been dug up and had some serious root pruning, it might just give up the ghost.
  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 3,120
    Follow the advice above ; very few conifers regenerate from 'brown-wood ; Picea certainly don't .
  • Thanks for your replies. All rather negative unfortunately! I'm not giving up on it yet tho. Anybody know if a spray of diluted washing up liquid will help combat the tree aphids? 
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 85,997
    edited August 2019
    I’m afraid they’re negative replies because you’ve been told the truth.

     Picea do not produce new shoots on old wood and you’ve pruned off the soft new growth.

     It’s like chopping your arm off and expecting another one to grow in its place. 

    You asked the question and were given the correct answer. Whether you take any notice is up to you. 

    You can wash aphids off with a jet of water from a hose or brush them off with your hand ... or leave them for the birds, hoverflies, lacewings and ladybirds to eat so at least the dying tree serves a useful purpose. 

    Sorry 😐 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 3,120
    I am not being personal here nor meaning to be offensive in any way , but why on earth would you spend the time in attempting to salvage what already sounds like the unsalvageable?
    Introduced circa.1600 , it is one of the most inherently dull trees ever brought into the UK; it simply has nothing going for it . Its appearance brightens (albeit temporarily) for about three-weeks when the new growth appears .
    Also relatively short-lived compared to some species of conifer , maybe the only admirable quality is its vast natural range ; apart from that , not the best Picea .
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