What to do when your Dwarf Alberta Spruce shows off its ‘wild side’
The Dwarf Alberta Spruce is very popular in home landscapes, due to its slow, compact, evergreen growth. They don’t require any trimming, are deer resistant, and extremely hardy — except when a spider mite infestation is left unchecked.
Technically, this sort of anomaly occurs when there’s a ‘genetic reversion’ of a Dwarf Alberta Spruce to it’s “roots” — a White Spruce. Imagine if you changed back to grandpa, and sprouted his gray hair!
Just as the Dwarf Alberta Spruce originated from a genetic mutation (often referred to as a “sport”) it will occasionally revert back to that from whence it came, as we see again in this photo:
Bert Cregg, from Michigan State University Extension, discusses this more in his blog.
Once your fascination has faded, what do you do about it?
Hopefully, well before that sort of ‘wild growth’ gets as far as it has in the two evergreens shown above, that portion gets removed, being pruned back to where it originated on the original plant.
It may be too late to do that on these two, since it would leave large, brown gaps. While I don’t have any ‘How To’ videos on that specifically, the pruning technique would be similar to what’s seen here: