Weeping Norway Spruce Picea abies ‘Pendula’
Today I bought and planted my Christmas tree. It is a weeping Norway Spruce and is only about 5 feet tall now. With a single hook at its top, my Weeping Norway looks very much like the star of the Children’s book: A Wish to Be A Christmas Tree, which is a story about an evergreen that did not have the normal Christmas tree shape and would not be chosen by a family as their Christmas tree. I decided to right that wrong and buy him to be my own 2014 live Christmas tree. If I don’t prune him and train him to have a single trunk and compated growth, my weeping Norway will eventaully sprawl all over the place. It will grow 6 inches to 10 inches per year.
Weeping Norway spruce(Picea abies `Pendula’) Six to ten inches per yearTen to twenty feet tall and ten to twenty feet wide
Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Best in cold climates, and will not grow well south of USDA Zone 7. Must be trained to the desired shape.
‘Pendula’ is an unusual weeping cultivar of Norway spruce. It is an irregularly shaped evergreen whose form will vary considerably depending upon its early training. Unless staked and supported, it generally does not grow upward, but instead will mostly spread along the ground as a woody ground cover. It can be a very unique specimen in the landscape, particularly if located in a spot where its form can be best utilized. If staked and supported, it can grow generally upright into a 10-15’ tall tree. Stiff dark green needles (to 3/4” long). Norway spruce (the species) is a pyramidal evergreen tree that typically matures to 40-60’ tall in cultivation in North America, but may reach 200’ tall in the wild in its optimum native growing environments in Europe.
No serious insect or disease problems. Canker, wood decay, needle cast and rust may occur. Watch for aphids, bagworms and mites.
Weeping evergreen tree that can be trained in a variety of ways for specimen use in the landscape. Use it as a small tree or a ground cover or cascade it over a stone wall.
No two weeping Norway spruce (Picea abies Pendula) specimens resemble each other in habit, floppiness and beauty. The tree must be staked for the first one to three years after being planted to ensure the roots spread and strengthen enough to prevent the entire plant from flopping over. Trim away branches that touch soil so they do not root and form a carpet-like mat.
Drive a 2×2-inch wooden stake or 1-inch diameter metal post into the ground 6 to 8 inches away from the trunk of the weeping Norway spruce. The length of the stake should be driven about 2 feet into the soil and extend to the height of or 6 inches beyond the top of the tree’s main trunk. Make sure the stake is perfectly upright and is sturdy. It must support the weight and strain of the irregularly branched spruce without toppling or breaking.
Snugly tie the top of the main trunk of the spruce to the stake with twine or green plastic plant ties. Do not use metal wire, which will slowly cut into and damage the bark of the plant. Allow a little wiggle room for the tree at the tie location to prevent any stress or breakage during wind storms.
Examine the spruce tree’s branches and form once it is staked. Remove any branch tips that touch the soil with the hand pruners, as they will root. You want to create a fully weeping plant with attractive branching. Also note if any dense branching causes the plant to look overly lopsided or causes the plant to be unstable or lean unsatisfactorily. Selective removal of small branches with the pruners can improve the look of the plant and help balance the weight load across the spruce.
Coax horizontal or weeping branches from the main trunk to different positions by either tying them to the stake or taking sturdy but bendable wire and gently coiling it around the branches. Hold one end of the wire next to the branch and wrap the wire cautiously around the branch you wish to train. Bend the entire wire coil and branch gently to create the curve or form for the branch to follow.
Consider driving in additional stakes to support larger, main horizontal branches that wire could not support or manipulate. Once the stake is driven into the ground and is sturdy, tie the branch to the stake at the desired height with twine or green plastic ties. Hide the stake in a manner so the weeping foliage masks its presence.
Monitor the stability and growth of the weeping spruce and support stakes and ties twice a year, once before winter and again in mid-spring. Readjust ties or add/remove stakes as needed based on the growth and performance of the tree. Repeat Steps 1 through 5 as needed to keep the plant looking its best. Trim away branches and twigs as needed to maintain an attractive look.
Remove any upward-growing branches that look to be forming a new main vertical trunk if you wish to keep the weeping Norway spruce at a certain height. If the trunk of this tree is never pruned, it will grow with at least one trunk leader upward to heights of 20 feet and more.