How to Manage Overwatered Dwarf Alberta Spruce

Dwarf Alberta spruce is an evergreen conifer native to North America often used as a Christmas tree. For its classic pyramid-shaped appearance and bright green foliage, it has been a great choice for gardeners as both indoor and backyard plants.

With proper care, Alberta spruce can grow for years. But sometimes due to mismanagement and some other factors, your plant may start dying easily. Overwatering is one such issue.

How can you tell whether your plant is overwatered or not?

Well, most of the time you can determine the water need by observing the soil. But sometimes there can be some problem in your soil or in the environment that can cause overwatering to your dwarf Alberta spruce.

Your plant can also exhibit some symptoms caused by overwatering. Yellow or brown discoloration, mushy stems and roots at the plant base, and root rotting with a bad odor are the common signs.

Overwatering can be caused by improper watering, heavy rainfall, water stagnant condition, surface and groundwater, and larger pot size. However, with certain measures, you can easily deal with such problems.

Keep reading to know more.

What Causes Dwarf Alberta Spruce Overwatering -How to Deal

1. Improper Watering

Dwarf Alberta spruce grows in full sun and also in partial shade. In any growing condition, proper watering should be maintained.

To deal with overwatering issues, you must know the timing and process of watering your dwarf Alberta spruce. Here I have mentioned some facts regarding this. Keep reading.


Alberta spruces are planted in both pots and yards. In potted ones, check the soil at a depth of 6 to 7 centimeters. If the soil is dry add an adequate amount of water.

In landscape, you may water depending on the soil conditions. Normally it takes a gallon of water each time.

Do not water more than this. Also on rainy days, you don’t need to water your Alberta spruce. Rainwater will be enough.

If root rot is observed, give a pause to your regular watering and let the soil dry at least 10 centimeters. For the next few months apply less water than usual and remove all the irrigation sources near your Alberta spruce.

2. Heavy Rainfall

Alberta spruces love rain, but untimely rainfall for a long time can damage your plant. Most of the time it’s the main culprit of overwatering your dwarf Alberta spruce. Normally rainfalls extending for more than a month are considered to be crucial.

This condition gets severe if your soil is clayey as water can’t pass down due to heavy soil structure.

However, you can’t control heavy and prolonged rainfall, but some measures can reduce the damage. Here I have enlisted some. Let’s check what you can do.


If your Alberta spruce is pot planted, you can easily move it indoors to skip the rain. But if it is planted in the landscape, you might need some extra protection.

In such a case, use some waterproof covering during heavy rain. Make sure that the covering is providing enough drainage by placing it to an angular position.

After the rain stops, don’t forget to check the roots. There may be some exposed roots after heavy rainfall. You need to cover them up with some garden soil as soon as possible.

Slugs and snails can also take over in moist conditions. So, after a prolonged rain look for them in your garden and remove them immediately.

3. Water Stagnant Condition

Dwarf Alberta spruce needs well-drained soils to grow. If there is any issue with the soil, there can be water logging problems that can eventually kill your plant.

Clay soil can block or slow down the downward water movement creating a water stagnant condition. When plants are kept in standing water for too long, their roots start rotting.

Besides that such soil conditions reduces the availability of oxygen to plants. In this case, your dwarf Alberta spruce may start turning brown.


In potted Alberta spruce, allow proper drainage by unblocking the drainage hole. Then you can keep it outside under sunlight. If the soil is too heavy, it’s better to repot in a soil media where water can pass through easily.

However, in the case of the yard planted, you have to handle the soil in a bit different way. You can add organic compost and pine barks around the base of your Alberta spruce to eliminate heavy soil issues.

It is observed that the application of a layer of 10 to 15 centimeters of organic compost has significantly improved the soil structure. So, try to add such organic matters before planting your dwarf Alberta spruce.

Another amazing treatment is to add gypsum in soil. This reduces the compactness of soil which discards the chance of water stagnant condition. (Our Pick: Down to Earth Organic Garden Gypsum Calcium Sulfate)

4. Surface or Groundwater

Too much surface water can easily damage the root system of dwarf Alberta spruce. Most of the time this water may flow from your household drainage. If your Alberta spruce is near to the building, you might have faced the problem several times.

Drainage water can create a moisture zone around your plant for a long time. In such cases, roots get damaged and the plant can’t uptake enough water.

Another problem can be the raised groundwater level. You need to check the water level at a certain depth, preferably 3 and a half feet. If groundwater is found at this level without any past incidence of rainfall within a few days, it might be a serious concern for your plant.

To deal with such issues, some management practices may help you. Here I have mentioned some. Take a look.


To protect your Alberta spruce from surface water damage, you may change the location of planting. In this case, you can simply remove it from the drainage channel and replant it to another dry place.

Now let’s think about the groundwater problem. Though high groundwater level seems to be a serious issue, but it’s not that hard to deal with. Just dig up a drainage channel and let the water pass. This will balance out the water availability to the root zone.

5. Large Pot Size

You might be a bit surprised to know that pot sizes can determine the water intake of your dwarf Alberta spruce. In larger pots, your plants can get over-watered easily.

If the pot size is too big, there will be more water available there. This will keep the soil moist for a long time causing your roots to rot.

In the case of slow-growing plants like dwarf Alberta spruce, planting in a large pot can arise serious problems. Slow growers have less water and nutrient requirements. A bigger container won’t boost up their growth, rather will be a host for pathogens like fungus and bacteria.

So, it’s important to choose your pot wisely to plant.


A container of an ideal size can save your Alberta spruce from the excessive moist condition. But what can be the ideal size?

Well, it actually depends on the diameter. You have to choose a pot similar to the diameter of your plant. It can be 1 to 2 inches larger in the case of dwarf Alberta spruce, but not more than that.


Question – How often should I water my Alberta spruce?

Answer – As dwarf Alberta spruce is quite slow-growing, it takes years to establish. You may need to have patience with its care.

In case of watering it is advised to water once in 7 days is enough for the first year of growth. After that water according to your plant’s needs.

Question – How do you save a dying dwarf Alberta spruce?

Answer – If you delay in taking proper measures after overwatering your plant, it may start dying. Fungal infestations, root rot, dead branches, and spider mite attacks on dwarf Alberta spruce are the common symptoms of dying.

You need to take proper measures against pest and fungal attacks by some simple methods. Here are some of my articles that can help you with this.

To save your dwarf Alberta spruce from turning brown due to overwatering you may need to change the growing media. So, just replace it with new soil and provide an advised dose of water with proper care.

Question – How do you care for a potted dwarf Alberta spruce?

Answer – Potted plants are quite easy to move and thus you can manipulate the surroundings for better growth.

In the case of potted dwarf Alberta spruce, provide it with enough sunlight throughout the day. Indoor ones can be shifted to the full sun once a week, then you can again put them in their place.

Follow the proper watering schedule and keep checking the drainage hole to save your Alberta spruce from overwatering.

For better growth and care, plant it in well-drained and moist soil.

The Bottom Line

In this article, I have provided some common facts related to Alberta spruce overwatering. With necessary management, you can easily revive your plant.

Now, let’s sum up. All you need to do is to maintain a correct watering schedule, provide protection against rain and allow drainage.

However, you know your plants and surroundings better. So take measures according to your need. Come back to us if problems arise and don’t forget to comment below.

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