Sitka and Brewer spruce both live at low elevations and near the coast within their native ranges. Yet, neither perform as well here as blue spruce, Picea pungens, which is native to much higher inland regions of the Rocky Mountains. It grows neither as big nor as fast here as in the wild, so few old local trees are taller than thirty feet, or broader than twenty.
Although compact, blue spruce should get sufficient space to develop its densely conical form without pruning for confinement or clearance. Such pruning is disfiguring. Since the evergreen canopy is so dense, it should retain low branches to the ground for as long as possible. Blue spruce works more like big and formal shrubbery than like compact trees.
Some cultivars of blue spruce are very stout and rounded. Most have remarkably blue or silvery color. Seed grown trees (which are not cultivars) are sometimes available online. They have potential to exhibit notable variation. Some might develop slightly more open canopies, with elegantly upwardly curved limbs. Spruce needles are about an inch long with quite a prickly texture.
2 thoughts on “Blue Spruce”
I understand now why Blue Spruce doesn’t do well here. This isn’t their native range. There was a sickly one a block or so away. It’s gone now. There was a small one growing on the slope in my backyard. It looked healthy, then one day it fell over.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Wow, in my entire career, I have encountered only one blue spruce that fell over, and it only did so with unusually strong wind. They are remarkably stable. Also, I would expect them to by happier there than they are here, since they get a bit of chill during winter. Now you got me curious about their preferences.