Smart & Sustainable, Green Garden Design, Coaching & Seasonal Maintenance

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Colorado Blue Spruce, a Sacramento Xmas Favorite

Picea pungens 'Glauca'
The Blue Spruce establishes the trim color for this Curtis Park home.

Picea pungens 'Glauca' - Colorado Blue Spruce
Origin: Rocky Mountains; Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico
Character: this evergreen tree is naturally shapely, requiring little pruning. It is dense, solid and upright with a  pyrimidal to conical shape.
Growth Habit/Size:grows rather slowly, but extremely long-lived. In a garden setting, it's more likely to be 20' -30' at maturity, and 1/3 as wide. In the wild it can 3 times as tall.
Foliage: stiff needles ("pungens" = sharp) grow alternately or spiraled around the entire branch ... the blue of the needles comes from a film or cast that can be rubbed off to reveal it's base green color ("glauca" = film).
Fruit, Seed and Flower Description: spruce cones are typically 4" long and "pendant" or hanging.
Environmental Preferences: moist to somewhat dry soil preferred, with full to partial sun and neutral to slightly acidic soil.
Pests/Diseases: can have problems with aphids (look for small, dull green aphids in the winter, and treat to prevent defoliation in the spring).
Uses: specimen, accent, common as living Christmas tree, some useage for cut foliage. 
Sunset Zones: 1/10, 14-171 - 10, and 14 - 17.
Propagation: semi-hardwood and hardwood cuttings.
Comments: the Colorado Spruce is probably the best of the spruces for the Sacramento Valley. It has many interesting cultivars in the 'Glauca' category, including, 'Fat Albert', which grows to 10' - 15' x 10' x 12', making it a nice size for the suburban landscape, and 'Pendula', the Weeping Blue Spruce, which can grow as a ground cover or trained into a small weeping tree. These evergreens can be grown in a container, which will keep their roots from going deep, and thus will need a cooler environment so they don't dry out.
a blue spruce bonsai 

Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help!
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