The Colorado blue spruce is one of the most commonly used conifers in landscaping. It is selected for its shape, its fullness, its color and its general resistance to problems that commonly impact the health of other spruce trees. It is a large tree that is commonly used as a windbreak, a noise barrier, and as a property line designator, especially when planted in rows.
Colorado Blue Spruce: A Brief History
The Colorado blue spruce wasn’t discovered until 1862. It had escaped discovery this long by growing in the high regions of the Rocky Mountains. Once discovered this great-looking tree was brought to the public and cultivated as a landscaping tree.
General Description of the Colorado Blue Spruce
With its conical shape and a full-figure of branches and needles, the Colorado blue spruce is a great looking tree with handsome colors that range between silver and blue/green. This tree is considered to be mature when it reaches a height of between 50 and 75 feet tall. At these extreme heights the Colorado blue spruce can have a spread of up to 25 feet. It has a deep and penetrating root system which gives this spruce a little extra resistance to wind damage and toppling.
The Colorado blue spruce is considered to be a slow to a moderate grower, so it will take several decades for it to reach heights over 50 feet. To enhance its growth you will want to plant your Colorado blue spruce in full sun. When planting in rows you need to give your Colorado blue spruce trees enough distance between one another to accommodate their large spread. The soil fertility really doesn’t matter for this tree as it can survive in nearly any type of soil. However, it will need a normal amount of water to remain healthy. Fortunately, this is a resilient tree that can withstand occasional periods of flooding and drought.
Colorado Blue Spruce Reproduction
In April or May the Colorado blue spruce will produce a flower, which can range in color from green to orange to purple. Once the flower has been pollinated it will go to work producing the fruit of the Colorado blue spruce, its pinecone. Colorado blue spruce pinecones average between 3 and 4 inches long and hang from the branches of the tree. Most of the pinecones that are produced will be found near the crown of the tree.
Colorado Blue Spruce and Wildlife
The Colorado blue spruce is popular for many reasons. However, one of the reasons is that it attracts wildlife. Not only does it provide food for wildlife, but it also provides a wide variety of animals with shelter. Deer will browse on the tender needles of younger blue spruce trees, but don’t worry, the tree is resilient enough to withstand deer activity, making it one of the few deer-resistant trees in the West. Songbirds love these trees and it is common for Colorado blue spruce trees to attract crossbills, nuthatches, and siskins. Other wildlife that will be attracted by this tree includes porcupines, squirrels, and chipmunks.