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Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get.

Robert A. Heinlein


Colorado Spruce in northern Arizona

A striking wild specimen. Note the column shape. I think given time to grow most spruce will find a shape like this. This particular one is in northern Arizona.


Colorado Spruce

Picea pungens

Colorados come in a variety of colours. Only about a third can be called blue, and only a few percent are that lovely blue-white. The colour comes from tiny beads of resin on the needles. With time the beads fall off, which is why the new growth is always bluer than the old. Soapy water will wash the beads off, turning the tree greener. Be careful washing the car.

SFTF Colorado Spruce

This is a typical blue-green specimen.


Trees in constant shade tend to be less blue. (Makes me think that blue may be a slight survival factor during drought.)

Colorados are not fast growers. Under average care they grow 6-10 inches per year. By comparison our native white spruce grows about twice as fast.

Cones and needles

The cones of Colarados are much larger than the cones of our native white spruce. Needles tend to be longer. And they are very sharp and stiff.


In their natural environment they show a lot of variation in form, ranging from broad, to conical to almost a column-like pillar.

Colorado spruce are extremely drought resistant. Water their first year, then ignore.

XXX

A fine blue-white specimen. Note that even amoung blues there are differences between them. Also the tips of the branches are bluer than the rest. Partly due to more light (the needles behind the tips are in more shadow) but also because the resin beads gradually fall off over the live of the needle.


I've yet to find any explaination in books for a survival advantage for the beads, which may be why it's so variable. (Maybe my guess above is right. Then again, maybe not.)

If you want consistent colour, stick with the named cultivars.

Mine are open pollenated stock, so expect a fair amount of variation.

Size: 30-60 feet.

Soil: Dry to moist. Doesn't like wet soils. Not good in very alkaline soils.

XXX

Typical Green Spruce. Over half of natural seeded Colorado spruce end up close to this color.


Colorado Spruce Seedlings

Young seedlings in our nursary

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This file last modified on Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Sherwood's Forests is located about 75 km southwest of Edmonton, Alberta. Please refer to the map on our Contact page for directions.