How To Train A Weeping Norway Spruce

Weeping Norway spruce (Picea abies "Pendula") are fast-growing ornamental conifers often selected as landscape focal points due to their dramatic growth patterns and versatility. Left untrained, they grow laterally more than vertically, creating sprawling ground covers extending many feet. Most gardeners prefer to train weeping Norway spruce to grow upward before allowing them to drape back to the ground in one or more directions. Hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 7, the trees take to training easily.

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Fresh, bright green marks new spruce growth.

Step 1

Drive the stake into the ground near the trunk of your young weeping Norway spruce. Use a post driver or similar device to drive the stake deep enough to keep it firmly upright. The exposed stake should be at least 1 foot taller than you want the tree to grow vertically. Many weeping Norway spruce are trained to between 10 and 15 feet in height, but any height you prefer is acceptable.

Step 2

Secure the tree to the stake with gardening twine or flexible tree ties. Continue to train the tree along the stake as it grows upward, securing it regularly until it reaches the height you desire. Once you stop securing the tree, it will begin to grow downward and out. Eventually this gives the tree a roughly conical shape. The shorter the vertical growth span, the wider the base of the cone will be.

Step 3

Use landscaping pins to train the weeping branches once they reach the landscape surface. Secure the sprawling branches in whatever directions you want them to grow. Once the tree matures and the trunk is strong and stable, remove the stake, ties and pins, if you desire.

Lois Lawrence

Lois Lawrence is an attorney and freelance writer living and working in Stonington, Conn. She has written on many subjects including travel, food, consumerism, relationships, insurance and law. Lawrence earned a Bachelor of Arts in economics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1976, and a Juris Doctor degree from Boston University School of Law in 1979.