A classic evergreen tree, admired by everyone, the Colorado Spruce has a graceful pyramidal form combined with dense foliage in a beautiful turquoise-green color. The branches grow in layers from the central trunk, making a tall pyramid. Lower branches close to the ground live for many years, so it is excellent for screening and windbreaks. In colder zones this tough tree is a basic garden plant, widely grown because of its durability, ease, and low care requirements. It is the perfect choice for creating a screen or windbreak, alone or mixed with other species, like Thuja Green Giant, Fir trees, and large shrubs. Plant it as a single tree, or a group, in the corners of your yard, to fill it out and frame the views. Plant along the edges of natural areas and woodlands, to make an attractive transition from ‘garden’ to ‘nature’. With its evergreen foliage it is beautiful all year round, and it is especially attractive during those long winter months when other trees are bare and colorless.
Colorado Spruce is one of the most popular trees for gardens in colder areas. For lawn specimens we recommend the ever-popular Colorado Blue Spruce, or one of the different improved forms, such as ‘Hoopsii’, ‘Fat Albert’ or ‘Baby Blue Eyes’. But for less formal areas, like screening, windbreaks, natural areas, or for background planting, choose the Colorado Spruce, whose greener coloring, with bluish overtones, is more appropriate, and fits better into the natural landscape. This tree is sometimes called Green Spruce, to distinguish it from the forms with distinctly blue foliage. As well, these trees are grown from seed, so each has subtle genetic differences that can protect against mass disease or insect pest outbreaks, or reactions to extreme weather conditions. Genetic diversity is important when planting trees in groups, and our Colorado Spruce offer you that.
Growing Colorado Spruce Trees
The Colorado Spruce is a rapid and steady grower, adding about 12 inches each year, eventually growing to 30 feet in height, and ultimately over 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. If the trees are crowded the upper branches will shade the lower ones, which will die, and a short trunk will develop. If lower branches begin to decline, or you need clearance under spreading branches, trim the lower branches back to the trunk, cutting them at the point where there is a swelling (called the collar) on the trunk. Don’t cut flush with the trunk, which creates a much larger wound that is slow to heal. If you do want to trim these trees, to make a denser, more compact form, do this regularly, and never cut back into branches with no needles on them. These can never re-sprout.
Planting and Initial Care
Grow 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. 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. When planting, always consider the final height and spread. Allow at least 15 feet from buildings, walls and driveways, as you don’t want to crowd it into a small space. Leave room to enjoy the full beauty of your tree. 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 again just before the ground freezes in early winter
History and Origins of The Colorado Spruce Tree
The Colorado Spruce, Picea pungens, is a native American tree that grows all down the Rockies, from Colorado and Montano to New Mexico and Arizona. It grows at high altitudes, so it is amazingly hardy, surviving winter temperatures of minus 50 degrees. That is equivalent to zone 2, so there is hardly a cold place in the country where this tree won’t survive with ease. The branches radiate horizontally, like the spokes of a wheel, in layers from the ground to the top of the tree. Smaller branches are densely covered with short needles about one inch long, which grow in all directions around the branch. They are a deep silver-green, with some blue overtones, and the overall color of the tree is a rich, muted turquoise-green. This is a conifer tree, so it does not have flowers, but as trees mature they produce large cones, 2 – 5 inches long, which hang vertically downwards. In early spring you might see small, red structures at the ends of higher branches. These are the baby cones – some are male and produce pollen carried by the wind, others are female and become the large cones. By late summer these have matured, and they open and begin to shed seed from September on. These are small and doesn’t create a litter problem.
Our Colorado Spruce are grown from seed collected from the most vigorous and attractive mature trees. They are carefully grown to have a single central trunk, and they are waiting and ready for you to plant them in their final homes. This very popular hardy tree is always in high demand, so order now – they are going fast.