Blue Spruce and Cobwebs, Maple Saplings

Asked July 8, 2020, 8:02 PM EDT

I’ve transplanted two maple saplings from the thicket across the street. One looks like it’s from a Dr. Seuss story, and the other forms a “Y” at the top. What are the trimming recommendations? Also showing my venerable blue spruce which has been thinning out over the last handful of years. Some “cobwebs” are present. My neighbor tells me it’s just a matter of time before all our evergreens that show cobwebs die off. No answer for this calamity?

Hennepin County Minnesota

5 Responses

the webbing on you spruce could be spruce spider mites: If the webbing is down on the dead branches it is probably just spiders. Mites love stressed trees,

Is the spruce a Colorado or Black Hills Spruce? Colorado Blue Spruces are no longer recommended for Minnesota. They eventually deteriorate and die. You might want to have an arborist look at it.

The Maple with the "V" has formed dual leaders: prune one of them off. Save the leader that is the straightest of the two which looks to be the one on the left. Prune it off this winter when the tree is dormant.

The Dr. Seuss tree is struggling from the transplanting. You might be able to prune it into a nice tree, but I doubt it. You might be better off to find another tree. Here is a pruning guide:

Thanks for that information. I'm thinking of planting Coriander, Dill, Garlic, and Pyrethrum chrysanthemums under the blue spruce to try to deter the mites. Is now, the middle of July, a bad time to plant?

By the way, I'm not sure what you meant by "The Dr. Seuss tree is struggling from the transplanting." The "ball" at the top is from me shortening the height of the tree, having been really tall and thin from growing in a woods among other trees. My neighbor said I shouldn't have done that, but the tree seems healthy and has leafed out well. ??

As always, I really appreciate what you do.


You probably missed my follow-up question above.

I did respond to this, but it must have gotten lost somewhere along the way. I didn't keep the response, but from what I remember this is what I wrote:

I didn't realize that you had topped the tree and now it has no leader. It is just like pinching back the growing tip on a plant, the side shoots begin to develop and in this case is the "Suess Look". Some of these limbs will try to be a leader and start to grow up and at that point save one and prune back the others.

If you can find plants you can plant the Coriander and Dill, but you will have to replant every year. Garlic is best planted in the fall. As far as the mums go you might be able to find plants and put them in the ground. If not you can start the seeds in the spring and then put them out. Coriander, Dill, and the Mums like a lot of sun. The soil under the pine is going to have low pH (acidic), but that should be OK.

Sorry that my response got lost in the iNet ether.

No worries; thanks Paul.