How to Trim Spruce Trees


Spruce trees are evergreen trees that produce cones and needles instead of leaves. Their shape is like that of a Christmas tree, with a narrow top and full skirt. The different varieties of spruce trees include blue spruce and Colorado spruce. Because spruces are so full and strong, they are suggested as windbreaks, privacy screens, and property borders.

Step 1

Wait until late winter to trim your spruce tree. The best time to prune a spruce tree is during its dormant stage. If you cannot trim during the winter, the next-best time to trim is during the spring, after the new growth appears, but before the new growth produces needles.

Step 2

Use pruning shears or a pruning saw, depending on your preference. Begin at the bottom of the tree, and remove all of the unwanted branches. This is a matter of preference, as some people like their trees full all the way down, and others like a bare length of trunk.

Step 3

Remove dead wood from the tree. Dead wood is unsightly, and is also a hazard if the branches are large. Use a saw to trim the dead wood, as they are generally more effective in cutting through the hard, dead wood.

Step 4

Cut back the branches to just beyond the point at which a side branch is growing. For instance, if the branch you want to cut has a smaller side branch growing off if it, make your cut such that the smaller side branch remains on the tree.

Step 5

Do not use paint or wood dressings on the cut wounds. The sap in spruce trees is so thick and sticky that the wounds self-seal and do not need to be dressed.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Pruning saw


  • Colorado Blue Spruce
  • Iowa State University Extension: The Proper Time to Prune
  • How to Prune a Tree
Keywords: trim spruce trees, trim a spruce tree, cut back a spruce tree

About this Author

Cyn Vela is a freelance writer and professional blogger. Her work has been published on dozens of websites, as well as in local print publications. Vela's articles usually focus on where her passions lie: writing, web development, blogging, parenting, gardening, and health and wellness. She studied English literature at Del Mar College, and at the University of Texas at San Antonio.