Norway spruce

Hello. Four years ago I planted a christmas tree in the garden. At the time it was 6ft tall, it has now reached around 12ft.
If I cut the top six feet off the tree, will it recover?
Many thanks
--
billwilliams


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On Nov 27, 1:38 am, billwilliams <billwilliams.

It will likely live, at least for awhile, but it will look like c**p! Conifers that are topped - and removing the top half of a tree is considered 'topping' - develop awkward growth habits that can seldom be corrected. They are also more prone to disease and insect issues when they suffer this type of abuse. If you were attempting to keep it small - "hedged" - you needed to start this process immediately after planting, removing any new growth and keeping the leader trimmed back. What you are proposing now is too radical a method and would jeopardize the long term health of the tree. If it is too big for its current location consider transplanting or removal rather than whacking it in half. You'll not be happy with the result.
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As a flat top tree. A carrier for birds?

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billwilliams wrote:

A Chanukah bush... circumcised! LOL
If you cut it, within a year it will send up a new leader and in four years will be 12' tall again... only it likely won't look very symetrical.
Didn't you know that a Norway spruce can easily and quickly attain a height of 70' X 30' wide and more. Spruce can be pruned of half its growth each year to keep it more compact but at 12' it's a bit late now.
Have it removed and plant something that won't grow larger than you want and/or have space. There are many varieties of spruce and other conefirs that are suitable for holiday decorating that grow very slowly and don't grow very large.
I planted a Fat Albert to decorate for the holidays. It should attain a height of 25' and I have the space but it is very slow growing, I seriously doubt I'll be here by then.
My Fat Albert was just under 6' when I planted it nearly two years ago, it's a bit over 6' now... those trees in the background are all Norway spruce:
http://i49.tinypic.com/116oz6t.jpg
Check for examples of various conefirs here: http://www.iseli-nursery.com/photopages/PiceapungensFatAlbert.htm
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On Nov 27, 4:38 am, billwilliams <billwilliams.

Tallest branches suppress growth of lower ones by production of hormones at tip meristem. Topping thus removes growth suppressant hormones. What's left of the tree grows back in bushier form, likely not what you had in mind. To preserve the conical shape, trim *all* branches back, preferrably no more than 1/3 of branch length each.
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On Nov 27, 3:38 am, billwilliams <billwilliams.

Andy comments:
I'm not sure what "Christmas tree" means since evergreens of all types are used for this. Around here, in Nawth Taxes, we have a LOT of red cedar, which grows wild in fields, that are used for Xmas trees. That being said, I have been growing and shaping red cedar for two decades. It can be trimmed into all sorts of shapes, from hedgerows to large, mound shaped decorations. I have to trim them 3 or 4 times a year, and stay on top of it, but they are very do-able if you want to use them as various ornaments.
Topping the tree doesn't hurt it a bit (red cedar) but seems to force it to grow out horizontally. New shoots will try to come out the top to continue, but they are easy to control with hedge clippers.
If they grow tall, one can cut off the lower branches at the trunk to about 8-10 feet above ground, and they make excellent trees that have a trunk that doesn't block the scenery.... They give good shade, and they don't shed leaves all over the place....
The only problem with red cedar is that it is a very slow growing tree, and may take several years to get to the hedge, shape, or height you want. On the other hand, once it is established, they are very hardy thru drought etc.....
I dig them up in vacant fields and lots when they are about a foot high, and have had the best luck transplanting them in January. Lots of water for the first year, then they take care of themselves....
Just my experience. I don't know how well it applies to other types of "Christmas trees"...
Andy in Eureka, Texas
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The subject line says it all - Norway spruce.
Red cedar - not a cedar at all but Juniperus virginiana - has a very variable habit and responds to topping or heavy pruning in a much different manner than do other, very defined single leader conifers. You may get by easily by topping a juniper but you will NOT get the same result topping a spruce.
Issues of topping conifers: http://www.evergreenarborist.com/Articles/article10.htm
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Andy responds:
Thanks gardengal. I've never tried it on spruce.... I am aware of Juniperis Virginianus, but it is called by so many colloquial names that just saying "red cedar" pretty much describes it .
I like spruce, but haven't seen any growing around here. It's the red cedar that are very popular here as Xmas trees.
Ok.... Thanks for the info....
Andy in Eureka, Texas
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