Weeping White Spruce - New Leader + New Growth - May 2021

When I planted the small Weeping White Spruce in our backyard in 2019, I noticed at the time that the tree had a sort of dual-leader-thing going on.  I think that's pretty common for young trees that are shipped to retailers:  tree nurseries are likely keeping small trees with ONE STRONG leader in the ground at their nursery because those trees have the strongest likelihood of growing big, tall and straight.  So, we see a lot of trees that have double leaders.  Despite noticing it, I didn't do anything about it.  My habits in terms of tree pruning have changed A LOT in the past four years.  

How so? 

Well, I was taught by my Dad to limb-up trees.  You want them to grow big and tall, so any energy that they dedicate to the bottom is wasted.  And, I did that.  Making a bunch of immature trees almost lollipop-looking.  And I lost some.   

And decided to take a step back and NOT prune trees very much.  This Weeping White Spruce has been the benefactor of that new practice.  

I took both leaders and kind of wired them up so they COULD have a shot at leading the new growth at the top as an apical meristem.  And let that happen all of 2019 and all of last year.  

But this Spring, I decided to make a call.  Because I wasn't seeing a lot of vertical growth from the tree. 

And, I held my breath, took out my Niwaki bypass pruners (or...you might say secateurs) and lop'd off one of the leaders.  Here's what it looked like post-pruning below.  You can see the stub-end of the removed secondary leader.

I sure was hopeful that I did the right thing.  And...at the right time.

Not sure if it was luck or BECAUSE of the pruning, but within a day or two, I suddenly saw some brand new growth pump out of the top of the tree.  How lovely, right?

History, however, has shown me that sometimes this new flush of growth is followed DIRECTLY by dieback.  I had a similar experience with a small Fraser Fir - it flushed out new growth.  Then, went hard brown.  Fingers crossed.


  1. Thanks for sharing this information. How did your Weeping White Spruce end up faring after the flush of new growth?

    1. Sadly, it subsequently started to decline. I lost a bunch of lower limbs and needles, but I'm thinking that I neglected it from water for too long. Post about drought impact on Weeping White Spruce Tree - the tree has seemingly stabilized and didn't die. It died back by about 1/3rd.

    2. A little update here: https://blog.jakeparrillo.com/2022/05/weeping-white-spruce-new-spring-growth.html The tree came back this Spring and put on even more growth. Fingers crossed...that it makes it.


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