Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Colorado Spruce, Blue Spruce
Picea pungens

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Family: Pinaceae (py-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Picea (PY-see-uh) (Info)
Species: pungens (PUN-gens) (Info)

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

4 members have or want this plant for trade.

Category:
Trees
Conifers

Height:
over 40 ft. (12 m)

Spacing:
30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

Hardiness:
USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Danger:
N/A

Bloom Color:
Inconspicuous/none

Bloom Time:
N/A

Foliage:
Grown for foliage
Evergreen
Blue-Green

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Non-patented

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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There are a total of 32 photos.
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Profile:

7 positives
2 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Neutral Rickwebb On Jan 23, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

It is the most common coniferous tree planted in residential yards homeowners in much of the Midwest and East. The foliage is green or bluish-green in most cases because they grow at medium speed of about 1 to 1.5 ft/yr and come from seed while the really blue-foliaged cultivars grow slow, are grafted, and are more expensive. The needles are longer than most other spruces of to 1 1/4" long and are thick, stiff, and painfully prickly. The tan cones are papery and about 2 to 5" long. Tolerant of pollution and heavy clay soil and does well in slightly alkaline soil. A significant number of this species in the Midwest and East die from Cytospora Canker Disease. I wish homeowners would stop planting this right in front of their house; keep it to the side. Don't break landscape design law by hiding the building, just frame it.

Positive bonehead On Nov 25, 2009, bonehead from Cedarhome, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Slow growing, but beautiful evergreen, prickly. Makes a definite statement when mature.

Negative GKayfes On Nov 17, 2009, GKayfes from Rosemount, MN (Zone 4b) wrote:

I loved my 4 C. blue spruce, but over time I noticed the inner branches turning brown and when I looked up the trunk, I noticed a dripping goo coming from the branches. I went to a U of M horticulture extension office and was told that my trees are suffering cytospora canker which is fatal. The Colorado Blue Spruce is not native to Minnesota and was told that eventually most of them will succumb to this disease My beautiful trees are now turning into brown skeletons and I am so sad. My trees are probably 25 years old and gorgeous. When they are cut down, I will shop for a conifer nativer to Minnesota.

Positive Padraic On Nov 16, 2009, Padraic from Salt Lake City, UT wrote:

Colorado Spruce is the state tree of Utah...go figure. The largest one that I have seen was near the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon, east of Salt Lake City, Utah. As near as I could estimate, it was about 120 feet tall; certainly over 100 feet. Sadly, it is no longer there. It was in a Forest Service campground called "Redman". There are many magnificent trees in that area, mostly Douglas Fir and Englemann Spruce. The microclimate is subalpine to alpine and the trees love it; they will not grow nearly so large in the valley, although they do well enough.

Positive Xenomorf On Aug 13, 2009, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

This Spruce tree has been known to reach 80 ft. high and the trunk to reach 2 ft. thick. The thick and rough bark is dark gray or brown and furrowed into ridges. The 4" cones are chestnut brown with the scales being more or less straight across which are not thinner at the tip. The silvery-blue needles are stiff and radiate in all directions from the branch. They are shaped like a diamond in the cross section and are about 1.5" long. This Spruce tree occurs in nature at about 7000-11,000 ft elevation in mixed conifer forests. The twigs are not hairy. The bluish crown on the young trees are cone-shaped. This tree is the state tree of Utah and Colorado.
Compared to the Engelmann Spruce, this tree is smaller and less widely distributed in the state of Arizona. It has longer cones that have scales of even thickness and the needles are stiff.
This Spruce is native to AZ, CO, ID, MA, MD, ME, NM, NY, PA, UT & WY in the U.S.A. and is also native to NS & ON in Canada.

Neutral Malus2006 On Jan 8, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

I have one in the yard. It is rather small to medium sized, having been planted 10 years ago but is close to a Red pine so it's slow growing. From my observation, spruces are the trees you most likely to see fallen after strong winds move through the area. They have very shallow roots spreading over a rough circular area a certain distance from the tree so they fall down more frequent that some other tree species.

Positive ineedacupoftea On Mar 28, 2006, ineedacupoftea from Denver, CO wrote:

The State Tree of Colorado, fittingly.
It is true that mixed sedlings of Blue spruce exhibit a mix of blue and green forms. The blue trees are saved and the green are culled or used for root stock in the green industry.

They do indeed tolerate Alkaline soil, even 8.0 with little difficulty. The blue color is often more pronounced in trees that are not overwatered. Birds prefer them over most other trees for the dense evergreen cover.

These trees have the most formidable impact when they are not trained to have trunks, leaving the lowest branches to hover just above the ground. Cutting these off only exposes the bare spot underneath! If weeds are a problem underneath, consider mulch.

Positive TBGDN On Mar 19, 2006, TBGDN from Macy, IN wrote:

When I first bought this land many years ago, I knew these two acres needed some character added to supplement the native white oaks, hickories and scrubs. It was then I began thinking evergreens/conifers, but could not visualize what effect they would have 20-25 years down the road. So I put my imagination to work, and began a five-year collecting/buying program to include different species. The fabled blue spruce was a natural for me since a friend had ordered several, overplanted many, and was asking me to take a few off his hands. I took three and transplanted them around the property at a tiny height of barely 15-18". I faithfully watered and fertilized the first year, and drove marker stakes around them to protect against hungry lawn tractors. After all these years, what I couldn't visualize then has materialized into gorgeous trees with an average height of 25-30 feet. They are especially nice in snowy winter months, and of course at Christmas. Birds use them as protection and nesting habitat.

Positive darylmitchell On Sep 26, 2005, darylmitchell from Saskatoon, SK (Zone 3a) wrote:

Blue spruce do well in this area and are commonly used in large yards where they have space to mature. Fully grown they can attain a height of 60 feet. Newly planted trees need adequate water and protection from the wind for the first 3 to 5 years until they become established. After that, they are reliable, drought-tolerant conifers. Their dense foliage can shield a house from cold winter winds, reducing heating costs. In a rural setting, they are valuable as windbreaks or shelterbelts.

Positive macluraspine On Mar 24, 2005, macluraspine from Marlinton, WV wrote:

tends to tolerate drought, once established, as well as white or black hills spruce, and better than norway. adapts to any ph below 7 (i have heard it even tolerates alkaline soil). can take all the cold wind nature can blow on it and not burn. aslo takes 100 degrees with little irritation but needs cold periods in winter to live long.

deer dont like older trees because the needles are stout, but they will eat off seedlings; and deer will eat anything if they are hungry enough.

older trees are suseptable to defoliation due to spruce epizeuxis. blue spruce tend to be hit the worst. it will defoliate the tree from the ground up and leave it looking horrible, even kill it. we are having a bad problem with that in west virginia and virginia now (2005). lime sulphur can control problem if sprayed early enough.

Regional...

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Dewey-humboldt, Arizona
Flagstaff, Arizona
Clifton, Colorado
Oxford, Connecticut
Bear, Delaware
Aurora, Illinois
Westchester, Illinois
Homecroft, Indiana
Macy, Indiana
Andover, Kansas
Burlington, Kentucky
Frankfort, Kentucky
Georgetown, Kentucky
Hebron, Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Nicholasville, Kentucky
Paris, Kentucky
Tiline, Kentucky
Versailles, Kentucky
Frederick, Maryland
East Weymouth, Massachusetts
Lawrence, Massachusetts
Millbury, Massachusetts
Gobles, Michigan
Greenbush, Michigan
Tecumseh, Michigan
Deer River, Minnesota
Longville, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Two Harbors, Minnesota
Fulton, Missouri
Lincoln, Nebraska
Cayuga Heights, New York
Highlands, North Carolina
Belfield, North Dakota
Grand Forks, North Dakota
Bucyrus, Ohio
Champion Heights, Ohio
Cleveland, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio
Deschutes River Woods, Oregon
Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Irwin, Pennsylvania
Schwenksville, Pennsylvania
Orem, Utah
Lake Goodwin, Washington
Langley, Washington
Marlinton, West Virginia
Johnstown, Wyoming
Ranchester, Wyoming
Riverton, Wyoming
Sheridan, Wyoming



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