Large pines with dead lower branches

I have a row a pines (blue spruce & ?) along one properly line that are 30'-40' tall. Most of the lower branches are dead, I assume because they are no longer getting any light because the upper branches. Is it ok to remove these branches so that the trunk is clean up to about 5 feet from the ground? I'm thinking about doing that and then planting pachysandra or some other shade-loving ground cover underneath. They run right along side the deck and the brown, needleless sections are ugly.
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Yes - we trim our evergreens ( cedar,hemlock, fir & spruce) all the time. The deer also trim them if we don't.
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What part of the country are you in?
snipped-for-privacy@noplace.com wrote:

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You can, if you have a need, also trim live branches. Most conifers will not suffer at all with as little as a third of the stem with live branches, as that's what happens in the forest. -- ************* Joe Licensed Forester in Massachusetts

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I have a Blue Spruce that has grown tall enough to have its lower branches impinging into the airspace of my driveway. Every time I prune one of them back, the branch dies.
Is there a right and wrong way to prune a Blue Spruce?
dickm
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wrote:

walk right under the tree and have no problem. It looks nice and no mess under the tree. It is a very large tree and about 50yrs old.
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