Large spruce overgrowing small spruce?

In our yard, we have a small white spruce seedling that was originally planted about 6 feet from the drip line of a large, 10-foot-tall white spruce. Years later, now we know we planted the small spruce too close because now the small one is about 4 feet tall and the large one is about 15 feet tall, and there is only about two feet of empty space between them. Because the larger spruce's branches grow about 9-12 inches a year, it will only be about two years before they are touching each other.
Will the big spruce eventually overgrow and kill the smaller spruce? Once the two trees' branches are touching, does that mean that their roots will also be touching and competing for the same nutrients -- with the big tree's roots ultimately winning the battle? Or is there a way to get them to grow up side by side, touching each other?
The reason I ask is because I know that on our other mature spruce trees, pine cones don't drop far from the mature trees, and seedlings are always sprouting out within a few feet of the mature trees. How do these natural seedlings grow up in nature, when they are growing only a few feet from the adult spruces?
We don't have a good spot in our yard to transplant the smaller spruce, so if there is a way that it can stay alive and grow up next to the bigger spruce, we'd prefer to keep it where it is.
Any advice?
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In nature it seems to me that white spruce is often a colonizing species that does not do well when forest begin to establish a dn close cover on one another. A forester would say that they are not terribly "shade tolerant". Black spruce (P mariana) with which white spruce naturally co-occurs across northern North America, is more tolerant of shade. Spruces in general compete more vigorously for light that for water and nutrients...there grow in far north latitudes or high altitudes where growth seasons tend to be short.
Be that as it may, your two trees may need to be pruned to keep the canopies apart but this is darn tricky with spruce. If a branch is cut further to the interior than the green needles it will not sprout. Even so it may die if it is not blasted with sunlight. I would forget about trying to dig up the smaller one as white spruce roots tend to very shallow and very interlaced with neighboring trees. Best rec. is to gut down the small one and keep the big one - why have two butchered trees staring at you?
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Mike LaMana, MS
Heartwood Consulting Services, LLC
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