Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - September 02, 2015

From: gulfport, MS
Region: Southeast
Topic: Pruning, Trees
Title: Pruning Spruce Pine (Prunus glabra)
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I have a Pinus glabra/spruce pine that is approx. 7' tall. It's limbs are few and some have been broken. Will trimming back the longer limbs to give it a Christmas shape harm this tree?

ANSWER:

Spruce pine is a 100 ft. evergreen with bark unlike that of other pines. At first smooth and gray, it later becomes closely ridged, suggestive of spruces. Needles are short, 1-4 in., and in bundles of two.

The USDA says that Spruce pine will reach 30-50 feet in open areas and it grows slowly. The trunk often twists with age and becomes irregular so don't expect it to create a perfect Christmas tree shape as it matures. 

The Virginia Cooperative Extension Service has a good information sheet on pruning evergreen trees that will help with training your tree while it is young.Certainly prune any broken limbs. You can prune the longer branches but only where there are needles still present. 

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Spruce pine
Pinus glabra

Spruce pine
Pinus glabra

More Trees Questions

Trees suited for rocky, caliche soil of Central Texas
September 20, 2011 - I need to replace aging ashes. I have planted 2 Monterey oaks, but I would like to know what else I could plant whose roots will grow well in NW Austin caliche, rocky soil? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Is December a good time to prune oaks in Central Texas?
December 29, 2010 - Given that we haven't had much cold weather here in central Texas (Wimberley) this season, is it a good time to trim live and Spanish oak trees (damaged limbs and low hanging branches and suckers)? ...
view the full question and answer

Retention of essential oils by Ashe Juniper wood from Austin
May 03, 2014 - I am looking for information on why local Austin Juniper/Cedar trees are so great at retaining essential oils for aromatherapy. I make pendants for necklaces out of our local fallen cedar trees and ...
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in tulip tree in Cincinnati
October 02, 2009 - I planted a tulip tree sapling (3 feet tall at the time of planting) in May of this year and it sprouted! Unfortunately, I believe the top portion (nearly 2 feet) did not make it (the sapling only spr...
view the full question and answer

Why isn't my recently planted Mexican Redbud growing in Georgetown, TX?
April 11, 2010 - I planted a container-grown Mexican Redbud in early March. As of April 5th, it is showing no signs of buds or leaves. Other redbuds in the area (possibly Texas redbuds) have been blooming for severa...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.