Marginal zone evergreens like the Alberta Spruce that have been pictured on many Facebook posts just could not handle the winter that was dealt to us.
It was the coldest winter in 35 years, with the average temperature of only 9 degrees for all of December, January and February. The 50+ below zero mornings, along with the very dry persistent north wind were all factors.
The ones that are brown on the top half or the vertical ones just dried out as they transpired this winter with all of those windy days.
The solution for now is to wait and see what greens up because many of these are not dead. The new growth will start soon but it might not be enough to make it look great.
Many of them are just so far gone that pruning them will take off so much that they will just not grow back right or look good for so long that you will have to tear them out and replant a new replacement.
If you start over, try to avoid the marginal zone evergreens and pick more Minnesota hardy ones and we will just hope that we have adequate moisture leading into the the frozen months and that they will fair better.
For now prune if you want or just wait a bit and see what happens and then you can decide if you want to replace your evergreens or not.
Thank you all for helping us tell this timely Grow with KARE story. We will continue to pose questions and use my Facebook page to get info out about what we are up too.
Belinda & Bobby