Picea pungens

Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

I supposedly bought a P pungens Montgomery 20yrs ago, but as it's now over 10ft tall, I doubt it's the real Monty. Which is problematic, since it's sited up front, never expecting it to get big this fast. At any rate, it's losing needles annoyingly, leaving increasingly prominent bare patches. I suspect the problem is shade - it's adjacent to a deck by the back porch and the bottom half gets shaded during winter due to the lower slant of the sun. Full sun all summer. The needle drop is on the lower (more shaded) branches and on the north side of the tree. The foliage is nice & full at the top, which isn't shaded during winter. Can anyone confirm for me that the winter shade is the likely problem? If so, I guess I have to limb it up, but I'm afraid it will look like a lollipop on a 3ft stick. Any other suggestions? Might more 'sculpted' pruning to thin some of thick growth on the top make the contrast against the bare bottom trunk less glaring? Here are pics.
#1 is whole tree - sideways (annoying!)
#2 & 3 show bare patches.
#4 shows the continual accumulation of needles on the deck.
#5 is the full healthy foliage on top.

Thumbnail by Weerobin Thumbnail by Weerobin Thumbnail by Weerobin Thumbnail by Weerobin Thumbnail by Weerobin
Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

I like the tree, and right now it seems to fill up that corner nicely. But you are right about the bare patches.
I might give it a try with a sculpted, almost Bonsai-ish treatment, before giving up and removing it. What have you got to lose.

Lexington, MA(Zone 6a)

In general, shade seems to make my picea pungens trees lose their bottom branches first, also. I limb them up when that happens,too, and feel happy that some perennials can be grown near them after that.

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