The most popular Spruce by any measure, the Colorado Blue Spruce is often the primary choice for Christmas trees, ornamental landscaping, privacy screens and windbreaks, and can reach heights of over 100 feet. It features a pleasing conical shape, and can live for up to 800 years.
Colorado Blue Spruce needles are four-sided and can be quite sharp ("pungens" is Latin for "sharp"), and needle color varies from silvery blue to greenish blue. The Glauca variety, tend to have more blueish and silvery needles. About 60% develop the famous "blue" color, while the rest will remain more greenish. It is a genetic trait which cannot be determined for another few years. Colorado Blue Spruce are very hardy, dense, and grow at an average rate for an evergreen. It's cones are anywhere from 2 to 4 inches long and have a brown chestnut color.
This Spruce is anchored with a deep root system, protecting it from drought and high winds. It requires little pruning to maintain its shape, and retains its needles better than almost any spruce (handy when removing it from your home after Christmas).
Colorado Spruce grow from Kentucky north (but can do well in lower states such as New Mexico and Arizona if planted at elevations above 5,000 feet) and east of Idaho. They can handle a little bit of shade, but full sun is best.
Black Hills Spruce is a slow-growing, compact tree, but that slow growth results in dense growth, making it perfect for privacy screens and windbreaks. It's short, bright bluish green needles and a dense, conical shape make it a landscaper's dream. Black Hills Spruce is virtually immune to the most common spruce pests and is very tolerant of drying winter winds. These characteristics make it ideal as an ornamental, privacy screen or windbreak if you have some patience with it's slower growth. Black Hills Spruce can reach heights of 80 feet over a life span of up to 300 years.
Although named after the South Dakota region in which it is naturally found, Black Hills Spruce actually thrive in a much wider range of cooler, moist regions, including states as far south as Georgia if planted at a higher elevation.
Prefers full sun.
White Spruce feature short, bluish-green needles and a nice overall appearance, great for ornamental uses. It features a conical shape which spreads fairly wide at the base if planted in the open.
White Spruce are native to the northern United States and Canada, and are very tolerant of cold windy conditions, partial shade and wet soils such as stream banks and lake shores. White Spruce habitat is generally from Indiana north, although they grow at higher elevations in lower states.
White Spruce are an important food source for Grouse and other seed eating birds, as well as red squirrels.
Does well in partial shade, but prefers full sun
Many in the green industry consider the Serbian Spruce the most beautiful ornamental spruce, period. The Serbian features short, dark green, flat needles (similar to a hemlock) with a breeze revealing silver undersides. The Serbian features beautiful purple cones and a visually pleasing conical shape.
Serbian Spruce are fast-growing, do well in full sun, and reach a height of up to 60 feet with a spread of 20 feet or more at the base. They should not be planted out in the open where winter wind can dry them out.
Serbian Spruce prefer richer soils, but they have also do well in sandier soils and can resist drought. Few natural pests or diseases affect Serbians other than White Pine Weevil, which, if discovered, is easily controlled with over the counter pesticides.
The Norway Spruce is a fast growing, dark-green spruce with short needles. It's pleasant appearance makes it ideal as an ornamental, and it's growth rate is well-suited to applications such as windbreaks and privacy screens.
Norways are the dominant evergreen in Europe, and although it is not native to the US, it is very commonly planted throughout the NorthEast and as far south as Tennessee. At higher elevations, they can survive even farther south. However, they are best suited to temperate climates, need full sun, and prefer richer soils.
They can reach a jaw-dropping height of 200 feet, but most max out at an impressive 100 feet.
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