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Colorado Blue Spruce

A Colorado blue spruce in an urban setting Needles and cones of a Colorado blue spruce Needles of a Colorado blue spruce
A Colorado blue spruce in an urban setting
G. Lumis
Cones of a Colorado blue spruce
G. Lumis
Needles of a Colorado blue spruce
G. Lumis

Scientific Name: Picea pungens var. glauca

Summary
Foliage: Evergreen needles
Height: 90 to 135 feet 
Spread: 20 to 30 feet 
Shape: Upright 

The needle-like evergreen foliage of the Colorado Blue Spruce has a very stiff appearance. Its foliage color varies from blue-green to silver.

Plant Needs
Zone: 3 to 8 
Light: Partial shade to full sun 
Moisture: Wet, moist, or dry 
Soil Type: Sandy, loam or clay 
pH Range: 3.7 to 6.5 

Functions
Suggested uses for this plant include windbreak, screen, border, and specimen plant.

Planting Notes
Prefers moist, rich soil and full sunlight.
More drought tolerant than other spruce trees. 
For consistent color, choose a named cultivar that has been vegetatively propagated. (Foliage color varies greatly in trees grown from seed.)

Care
Maintenance sometimes needed to control insect pests.
Prune dead wood in early spring.
Water young trees thoroughly once a week in hot, dry weather. Hose should be placed at base of plant and water should trickle into soil.

Problems
Spruce gall aphid causes tips of branches to die.
Other pests include spruce budworm and spider mite. 
Pest damage can ruin formal symmetry of tree.

Alternatives
Consult local sources, including historic or public gardens and arboreta, regarding cultivars and related species that grow well in your area.

Cultivars of PICEA PUNGENS
`Hoopsii' is one of the best cultivars for consistent silvery color. 

Comments
Placing this tree in a landscape is difficult because it is so dominant. It is best used as a single specimen plant for accent.
Other plants make better choices for use as screens and mass plantings. 
The branches droop, and the plant loses its shape in old age.

This material was developed by Carol Ness as part of the Interactive Design and Development Project funded by the Kellogg Foundation. Mary Miller, Project Director. Diane Relf, Content Specialist, Horticulture. Copyright 1989 by VCE.