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Two Trees in One. Should I leave it alone?

The tree on the right has a pine tree that grafted itself on top of the other tree, a Dwarf Alberta. I was going to separate them, but they seem to be doing okay. Isn't it funny looking? The blue spruce was from a school sale several years ago and has done well.

Gladwin, MI on our lane.
30  of  33 comments
  • Joanie J
    Joanie J Eau Claire, WI
    on Jul 24, 2013

    I would trim the top in a cool shape

  • Karen
    Karen Warren, MI
    on Jul 24, 2013

    Thanks Joanie. Like what shape? With edger? I don't know if I would do it justice.

  • Z
    Z
    on Jul 24, 2013

    I'd leave it alone. It looks awesome in it's own way.

  • Karen
    Karen Warren, MI
    on Jul 24, 2013

    Thanks for the answers, but I'm still hoping for more ideas.

  • Patricia W
    Patricia W Eugene, OR
    on Jul 24, 2013

    The lower tree looks more like a cedar. Thuja do not grow like that. They are more columnar. The pine on top will eventually topple and break at the graft because the two trees grow differently. Interesting though.

  • April
    April Lawrenceville, GA
    on Jul 24, 2013

    Wow. Interesting! I'd prune it, but not too much - in case that particular kind is sensitive to too much being taken off. Perhaps in a similar shape to the tall one.

  • The Garden Frog with C Renee
    The Garden Frog with C Renee Midlothian, VA
    on Jul 24, 2013

    The lower shrub looks like an Alberta Spruce and the upper one looks to be another type of spruce. It is hard to tell in the picture. I would trim the bottom bush to look more like a skirt or a ball so that the top spruce stands out more. It is a cool looking combo.

  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson)
    360 Sod (Donna Dixson) Buford, GA
    on Jul 24, 2013

    This is a great article to explain the phenomenon of REVERSION. http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/understanding_tree_reversions

  • Barbara Thomas
    Barbara Thomas Cincinnati, OH
    on Jul 24, 2013

    I would separate these 2 before they get too much larger. I agree the top tree will eventually break off and it's the most beautiful. I don't have any idea how they can be separated though....do you see roots on the top one?

  • Z
    Z
    on Jul 24, 2013

    Very interesting info @360 Sod (Donna Dixson)

  • Better Outdoor Living at Home
    Better Outdoor Living at Home Columbus, OH
    on Jul 24, 2013

    From the photo, the top tree looks like it might be a fir?? If you want to keep it, you might try pruning all the branches off the bottom plant, so the top plant looks like it has a trunk that was limbed (lower branches removed). Whatever you do with it though, it might not ever be a strong wooded tree. ~M

  • Karen
    Karen Warren, MI
    on Jul 24, 2013

    Barbara Thomas, No roots. I remember grafting with sphagnum moss and a plastic bag tied around it to root a plant, but I thought it was interesting to leave and see what happened. I agree this is a fir pine and not even a blue spruce, as next to it. The other is not a cedar as we have several of those on the river. The lower one is an Alberta Spruce. It came back from brown and ugly in the cooler weather. It is just a "junk tree" I suppose. If it starts to break off I will do something. Thanks for all of the comments.

  • Linda Hopper
    Linda Hopper Stanton, TX
    on Jul 24, 2013

    God don't make junk...enjoy it for what it is. Beautiful.

  • Tanya Peterson Felsheim
    Tanya Peterson Felsheim Grants Pass, OR
    on Jul 24, 2013

    how fun! but guess its not a good thing overall....let us know what you end up doing

  • Joanie J
    Joanie J Eau Claire, WI
    on Jul 25, 2013

    you could call a tree trimming place and see what they recommend and maybe have them trim it I have a tree trimmer coming over tomorrow to look at two of mine but he said it would be better to wait til the weather cools down before he will trim them..

  • April
    April Lawrenceville, GA
    on Jul 25, 2013

    @Karen - Looks like it has the potential to be someone very beautiful with a little bit of pruning, but it's up to you. :) @Linda - Love the comment, and so very true. :)

  • Jeanette S
    Jeanette S Atlanta, GA
    on Jul 25, 2013

    Are the grafted trees going to interfere with that beautiful Blue Spruce? Since there is a chance the top of the grafted trees might break off, I would watch to make sure the Blue on has plenty of room...and take down the others if they become a problem.

  • Leona G
    Leona G Howey In The Hills, FL
    on Jul 25, 2013

    The tree on the top is actually a spruce tree. Do you want 2 different trees in one plant? If no decide which tree you want most. If yes then do you want to make a topiary out of it. Spruce trees take well to trimming but not so well to harsh pruning, If it were me I would keep the spruce and get rid of the lower tree by hard pruning or shape it to look like a pot for the spruce tree. Spruce tree will grow to about 50'. Good luck

  • Susan Duvall
    Susan Duvall Red Lion, PA
    on Jul 25, 2013

    The top tree should be shaped into a nice xmas tree shape and harvested for xmas. then the other tree could grow on unfettered.

  • Avis Powers
    Avis Powers Windsor, VT
    on Jul 25, 2013

    I'm not going to be any help at all, but I have an opinion -sort of. Doesn't everyone? I think that you should do as others have suggested with a LITTLE bit of pruning and shaping for now. Trimming the alberta to look like a pot on the bottom sounds kind of neat to me, and maybe just trimming the spruce on top to keep it's nice shape. And then, enjoy & show off your UNIQUE creation! Because, let's face it, how many other people have a tree that looks like that? Not too many, I'm thinking! Eventually it probably will break off or something, but why not enjoy it for what it is right now?

  • Gypzgyrl
    Gypzgyrl Miamisburg, OH
    on Jul 25, 2013

    It is a gift from God. Thanks for sharing it with the rest of us.

  • Karen
    Karen Warren, MI
    on Jul 25, 2013

    @Rhonda, I see what you mean about a witches broom in Donna's info. It's too cute to get rid of and I like the creativity of the pot idea. It seems very secure and stable on top. I won't be around for 50 feet people, so I am going to watch and learn. Watch and enjoy and maybe do a little trimming, but the Alberta is brown underneath. I suppose it will green up after it is trimmed? Yeah? I watered it last weekend and it has rained. We are not always up at the cabin where it is located, so it is what it is.

  • Karen
    Karen Warren, MI
    on Jul 25, 2013

    @Susan Duvall ~ I had thought just that same thing. Christmas tree. If it starts to break off, I will harvest it for just that if we are up in December.

  • Virginia
    Virginia Gainesville, GA
    on Jul 25, 2013

    You should move the smaller tree. You do this in winter or spring. Dig around the roots first, then let it sit in the ground for a week or so before the move. Stop pruning it. That little tree looks beautiful when left to be it's original self, that pruning looks bad.

  • Diana Wise
    Diana Wise Indianapolis, IN
    on Jul 25, 2013

    We as people do lots of wild things with nature, grafting, combing plants, animals people.....you should let Mother Nature alone....it looks AWESOME.

  • Sabina
    Sabina Tonawanda, NY
    on Jul 25, 2013

    You have a "sport". It's when a cultivar reverts back to the original species normal growth characteristics. If you want to keep your dwarf cultivar you need to cut it off at the point of reversion.

  • Stacie Lauridia
    Stacie Lauridia Pittsburgh, PA
    on Jul 25, 2013

    Why not just ask someone from a tree farm or a nursery and see what they think.? I like the way it looks but every ones right the two trees need seperated.

  • Lorah Marquardt
    Lorah Marquardt Stevens Point, WI
    on Jul 25, 2013

    The link Donna Dixon gave in her comment was very informative. It does indeed look like your cultivar is reverting back to a standard growth pattern. Very fascinating stuff. Thanks for sharing.

  • Sherrie S
    Sherrie S Debary, FL
    on Jul 25, 2013

    I would let it be and see what nature decides should be done. That look is really too special to destroy.

  • Karen
    Karen Warren, MI
    on Jul 26, 2013

    I don't plan to disturb it unless it gets in distress. I think it is unique and they are both happy "married".

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