Trim early in the season so new growth has ample time to form buds and harden off for next year.
Do not overdo the pruning. If the plant is too large for the spot, consider relocating it rather than forcing it to fit by extensive pruning. Eventually the spruce may look misshapen and unnatural.
Globe blue spruce (Picea pungens "Glauca Globosa") is an attractive dwarf conifer perfect for full sun locations that do not have much space. The shrub grows slowly to about 4 feet tall and slightly wider, and its blue-green foliage stands out dramatically in the garden. The foliage is most colorful in the spring when new growth is emerging. Picea pungens has a dense growth habit and generally does not require pruning, but it can be trimmed to control the size and shape. Severe pruning is not recommended.
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Make sure your pruners are sharp and clean.
Look for any diseased or dead wood, and remove it completely by cutting back to a healthy branch.
Look for visible buds along the stem, and cut 1/8 inch above a bud. It is important not to cut too far back to where there are no dormant growth buds.
Continue cutting around the plant to shape it as needed. Occasionally step away and view your progress from a distance to make sure the spruce remains balanced. To maintain a natural look, do not shape it into a perfect sphere.
Monitor the plant throughout the subsequent weeks or months to make sure it is not under stress or suffering from insect damage. Pruning can put stress on the spruce that can attract insects.
Wendy Lee has been writing in the gardening community since 1998, while growing and nurturing her vast plant collection at her home in Massachusetts. Lee studied horticulture at the New England School of Gardening and has been gardening professionally since 2009.