How to Prune a Colorado Spruce


Colorado spruce (Picea pungens) is a narrow-needled evergreen tree. It is hardy to USDA zone 2 and grows well in full sun or partial shade. A mature Colorado spruce can reach 60 feet tall and 20 feet wide. As with other evergreens, the Colorado spruce requires pruning to remove diseased or damaged branches, to control its size, and to provide clearance under the tree.

Step 1

Cut off damaged or diseased branches immediately. Cut damaged limbs at the breaking point, or remove the entire branch. Diseased branches should be completely removed.

Step 2

Cut back new growth with hand pruning shears in early spring. Cut just in front of a lateral bud--buds are not formed on old wood. This will maintain the width of the tree and make it denser.

Step 3

Cut off branches close to the ground in late winter or early spring to provide clearance under the tree. Many people prefer not to cut off any lower branches as they feel it destroys the natural appearance of the tree.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not prune branches that are close to electrical wires; call the utility company to do the work.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand pruning shears
  • Lopping shears
  • Pole pruner
  • Tree saw


  • John's Nursery Inc.
  • University of Minnesota
  • Tree Help

Who Can Help

  • Department of Agriculture
Keywords: Colorado spruce prune, branch needles cut remove, diseased damaged leader

About this Author

Paula M. Ezop’s inspirational column "Following the Spiritual Soul" appeared in "Oconee Today," a Scripps Howard publication. She has published her first book, "SPIRITUALITY for Mommies," and her children's chapter book, "The Adventures of Penelope Star," will be published by Wiggles Press. Ezop has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northeastern Illinois University and has been writing for 10 years.