Picea glauca 'Pendula' / weeping white spruce

Picea glauca 'Pendula' is a graceful, narrow-upright selection of White spruce with a strong central leader and steely Blue foliage on stiff, strictly pendulous branches that cascade down the trunk and flare out slightly at the tips. After 10 years of growth, a mature specimen will measure 10 feet (3 m) tall and 3 feet (1 m) wide, an annual growth rate of 1 foot (30 cm).

This cultivar originated as a spontaneous weeping mutation found in the 1860s in Trianon Park, Versailles, France. French botanist, Élie-Abel Carrière formally described it in botanical literature in 1867 in Traité Général des Conifères. In the Latin language "pendula" translates into "weeping or pendulous."

Picea glauca 'Pendula' — a fairly young plant at Porterhowse Farms, Sanday, Oregon, USA.
Photo by Stephen Grubb
Picea glauca 'Pendula' — photo record donated by Richard and Susan Eyre.
Photo by Rich's Foxwillow Pines Nursery, Inc
Picea glauca 'Pendula' in the Heartland Collection of Dwarf and Rare Conifers, Bickelhaupt Arboretum, Clinton, Iowa. This plant was 8 years of age when this photo was taken in spring, 2003.
Photo by Chub Harper
Weeping White Spruce photographed in the Bibby and Harold Alfond Children's Garden of the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden, Boothbay, Maine, 2013
Photo by Sean Callahan
Picea glauca 'Pendula' — closeup of foliage detail, photographed in the Bibby and Harold Alfond Children's Garden of the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden, Boothbay, Maine, 2013
Photo by Sean Callahan

Comments

Linda

I have a question. I was told that it was a slow grower and that you could trim the leader back. How much can I trim back and when can I trim it?

David Olszyk

Hi Linda ... you were told wrong. I've seen this one put on a foot or more of growth every year. Typical mature specimens measure upwards of 20 feet tall. Pruning spruces is an art form in itself. It's very difficult to do and rarely comes out right. Honestly most people don't even try to do it. I especially recommend not messing with the leader.

Lisa

Hello,
I recently planted a tree that was tagged weeping white spruce, however I was told it was a Weeping Norway Spruce. Upon some research I see they are quite different. On the tree I have the top (I think its the leader) is hunched over and not growing upright. Is this ok, should I be doing anything to help it along or straighten it?

David Olszyk

Hello Lisa. You are correct in the Picea glauca 'Pendula' and Picea abies f. pendula grow with very different structure. It sound like you plant is knuckled over. That leader will eventually reach the ground and start rambling around. At this point in the season, the new growth has likely hardened off to the point that, if you try to straighten it, it'll break.

The best you can hope for is to stake up a weaker branch which may or may never achieve apical dominance. Also be aware the weeping Norway spruce will only grow to the top of its highest stake, then knuckle over once again.

Renee

I have a Weeping White Spruce that I think has reached maturity because even the leader is now weeping. My question: Can I remove the fence I've had around it for protection from deer? or will the deer graze the lower branches destroying the characteristic look? Thank you.

David Olszyk

Renee, I have seen 100s of these plants over the years. Not a single one has had a weeping leader. I've seen some up to 50+ feet tall ... straight up!

Deer behave differently in different parts of the U.S. ... In Washington and Oregon, they never touch white spruce; so I can't account for the local psychology of your deer.

Renee

Several years back, I may have damaged the leader. But then it started growing again. I’ll upload a picture. I have only seen it from the ground. Thanks for your information.

David Olszyk

I saw your picture and will upload it later. Your plant definitely suffered some sort of mechanical damage at some point. The tree will usually re-establish a lead shoot and resume a skyward journey.