In cold northern areas evergreens form the basis of the garden, giving structure and brightening the garden through the long winter months. They look beautiful with their branches outlined with snow, and sparkle in the summer sunlight. Rich blue needle-trees are a great choice, since the bold color makes a lovely contrast with the softer greens of other bushes and trees. Colorado Spruce, also called simply Blue Spruce, is admired by everyone, and very popular for its perfect conical form and brilliant blue coloring.
The Colorado Blue Spruce is one of the very best trees you can grow, both for the color of its needles and for the its broad, dense form that always looks perfect in any garden. Plant it as a lawn specimen; to define the corners and boundaries of your property; or as a solid and hardy privacy screen. Whatever you do with it, this reliable and hardy tree will bring beauty and color to every garden.
Growing Colorado Blue Spruce Trees
Colorado Spruce (Picea pungens) is a native American tree that grows through the Rockies, from Colorado and Montana to New Mexico and Arizona. It grows at high altitudes, so it is amazingly hardy, surviving winter temperatures of minus 50 degrees. This means that wherever you live, no matter how cold your winters are, Colorado Spruce will grow well for you. Not only is it cold hardy, but it will grow in almost any soil and once established it is remarkably drought resistant too, so even in the dryness of summer you will not need to worry about your trees. If you live in an area with a lot of rain, we recommend Paul’s Select Norway Spruce, for the same rich blue color on a tree that grows well in wet climates.
Uses on Your Property
Colorado Spruce is among the most popular trees grown in colder areas. No wonder, because this is a tree that has a lot to offer, and can be used in many ways. Use it for a spectacular lawn specimen. Decorated with lights it makes the best Christmas tree in the world. Plant them in pairs along your driveway for a majestic entrance. Planted in a row 5 to 8 feet apart they will soon grow into a solid screen against the weather, or to hide an ugly view.
Planting and Initial Care
When planting, always consider the final height and spread; allow at least 10 feet from buildings, walls and driveways, as you don’t want to crowd it into a small space. When it is larger it can be pruned-up to have a trunk, so that you can drive or walk underneath it, but most people like to keep it with branches right to the ground for as long as possible. Leave room to enjoy the full beauty of your tree.
Plant the Colorado Spruce in a sunny or partially-shade location in any part of your garden, allowing enough space for it to spread sideways without crowding. This tough plant will grow in most soils, but avoid areas that are always wet. During the first couple of years water your tree regularly, especially during hot, dry weather and just before the ground freezes in early winter.
Once established it will need very little (if any) care and will thrive for many years with no attention needed. It can be trimmed to control the width, but do not cut back into areas that have no needles on them, as branches without needles will not re-sprout. Regular light-trimming is always better than heavy trimming.
Colorado Spruce forms an upright tree, with a strong central stem and branches radiating horizontally from the ground to the top of the tree. It grows into a pyramid three times taller than it is wide, with real character and ‘presence’ in your garden. The branches are covered with dense needles about one inch long, growing all around the branch and the needles are a rich silver-blue color, making this tree really stand out in the garden and contrast beautifully with other green plants around it.
It does not have flowers, but older trees produce attractive cones 3-4 inches long. The tree will grow steadily, adding about 12 inches each year, eventually growing to 30 feet in height, and ultimately perhaps to 60 feet tall. If you allow enough room, and the light is good, it will have branches right down to the ground for many, many years to come.