Spruce VS Fir Trees

rickstangJanuary 22, 2011

I have this square area on the front right of my house that is aprox 50' x 50 that I would really like to plant some evergreens. I have done a lot of research and have chosen coldstreamfarm.net as who I will be going with because they have good ratings and they have all the species of trees I was considering.

For spruces they have: Norway, Black Hills, Blue and white

For Firs they have: Balsam, white, douglas, fraser

I would really like to plant a mixture of stuff. Main reason for them is just to create privacy from the street. I was thinking maybe 4-5 in that 50x50 foot section. Then a few different kinds out back.

About the site:

50/50 mixture of rock/clay and good soil

full sun

Well drained

I would like something that doesn't have a lot of disease problems and something that the deer probably won't touch. Not required, but it would be nice to have something that retains somewhat of a pyramid shape most of its life. I'm not sure if I should stick with all spruce or all fir or a mixture of the two.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

I don't recall where you live. Your page just says United States.


    Bookmark   January 22, 2011 at 9:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

what size are you looking at a CSF???

have you considered the county soil conservation sale in early spring .... they may be cheaper w/o handling charges ...

agree ... we need to know where you are


    Bookmark   January 22, 2011 at 10:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I live in mid eastern Ohio. I was looking at their 18-24" ones for around $6-$7 each. I would buy their larger ones, but for some reason CSF doesn't guarantee anything that is purchased over 24". The smaller ones are a bit cheaper and should be easier to plant. I'd rather buy local, but from past experiences it didn't go so well. You find a type you really want and they usually don't have it or they do, but in the wrong size. I couldn't find anyone around here that sold small Green Giants so I bought these last fall from Botany Shop. That went pretty well so I figured I'd do the same with the conifers.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2011 at 11:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

link below.. my counties tree sale list from last year ... i do not think you can order from my dist.. since you must pick them up in person.. its not a mail order thing ...

i got this years today ...

what county are you in.. or can you find out if your soil conservation district sells trees??? .. a monday phone call will make it real easy ...


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   January 22, 2011 at 6:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wayne county, I think I found ours here:

Looks like they have Norway and Blue spruces. 10-22" seedlings 10 for $7.00. Since these are slow growing, I'm not sure I'd want to go that small.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2011 at 8:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Maybe the local OSU arboretum sells trees in the spring? Or Wooster college? Wooster is at least recognized for having nice trees, a "Tree City USA" city.

Norway and Blue Spruce are very common, you should be able to find those in many sizes. Even at Lowes and Walmart. Firs are harder to find for sale in Ohio, don't grow as easily. A Douglas Fir might be worth mail ordering.

Don't overlook Canadian Hemlocks. Beautiful pyramidal trees for a somewhat sheltered area.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 8:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Rick, I'd not rate Norway or Colorado spruce as slow-growing. I have some NS in the ground for three growing seasons now, planted as roughly twelve-inch seedlings, the best are now seven feet tall!

I'm not especially a Black Hills fan, but I like all your other ideas.


    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 10:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would love for them to grow that fast. I really starting to like the Sebrian Spruce now, too. I really like as it gets older, the branches sort of droop. I'm definetly leaning towards the Serbrian & Blue Spruces.

For those that have Spruces: Are they real messy? Do they leave a lot of needles or cones all over the place? That's pretty much my only concern. My neighbor has 40-50 pines on our property line and it's a pain having to hook my bagger up to get all the needles off the ground a couple times a year + pick up all the cones in the spring. But then again, that's 40-50 trees, I would only be planting 4-5 trees.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 7:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

ok.. we are making progress ... though i cant open the pdf at the link you gave... will review it later.. if it will allow ....

note in my SCD list.. they offer the small ones.. and also some larger ones ...

back when i was in your position .... i bought bulk small investment ...

but then spent a little more.. on some bigger ones ... see link ... no one said they all have to be the same price.. right????

the couple bigger ones will keep your attention ... while the others get going ...

the pic below shows you the growth rate of a picea pungens Hoopsi .... from a one gallon ... that is FAST growth .. for a tree and/or conifer ... note how the growth rate gets a bit larger every year .... until the root mass is fully mature.. and it looks like the last year [the topmost] it was around 18 inches .....

good luck


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 8:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Very nice hoopsi, I'll add that to my list to go in my conifer bed out back. I think I've decided to go with 4-5 Serbian Spruces out front.

Can we order from another county distric or just my own? About 45 mins away is Ashland county. From what it looks like on their page they offer 10 Sebrian Spruces (size 30"-40" transplants) for just $35. Seems kind of cheap though.
Link below to their site.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ashland County

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 11:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
wadet(z8a WA)

rickstang, Douglas Firs are not actually true firs. They're probably closer related to spruces than firs, hence the earlier name, "Douglas Spruce".

About Cold Stream Farm, I bought 2 "Fralsam" firs sold as potted, but died before spring. In actuality, the trees were bare roots stuffed in pots! Whoever dug 'em up, didn't care since most of the roots busted and missing. I called and complained, they agreed to send new trees but never did. That was five years ago.

In short, I paid big $ for shipping shipping NH soil to WA State!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2011 at 3:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"nickstang, Douglas Firs are not actually true firs. They're probably closer related to spruces than firs"

Not true; douglas-firs are actually most closely related to larches, with firs more distant, and spruces a little more distant still.


    Bookmark   March 4, 2011 at 5:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Agree with the Norway spruce and it being a slow grower. Over here, in claysoil about 2 km from the coast in The Netherlands, they grow more than 1 metre per year on several occasions (yes, that is 40"on a tree of only 2 metres tall)! That is faster than a Sitka spruce grows over here or any other conifer I know. May be leylandii comes close.

There are a lot of Picea omorika over here. They do not grow that fast but still can put on 50-60cm a year. It will depend on your local circumstances. What soil do you have, growing season etc. Omorika in my view is really nice, certainly when it matures. But one omorika is different from another...

    Bookmark   March 4, 2011 at 3:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"in The Netherlands, they grow more than 1 metre per year on several occasions ... That is faster than a Sitka spruce grows over here"

Too dry for Sitka Spruce! With higher rainfall, Sitka Spruce can easily grow 1.5m, sometimes 2m, in a year when young. And even 1m still when 40m tall, in the best cases.


    Bookmark   March 4, 2011 at 4:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

COuld be drought. 840 mm is more than enough. But the soil is very sandy and dries out easily. I think th problem is the fact that these are inland dunes. I know there is no calcium in them anymore. And Sitka loves CaCo3...Otoh: I monitor the seedlings over there. I found some that were 10 cm last march and now are 60 cm. I think that is okey. I am afraid heavy browsing by deer, hares and rabbits will prevent me from monitoring the possible growth...

On to the nutrients. Next to my city we have a Norway spruce stand and a Sitkaspruce stand. The Sitkaspruce there are on very heavy clay soil that becomes completely waterlogged in mild winters. However, the foliage of these spruces looks perfect. The trees look vigouros. This clay is slightly acidic and full of nutrients. It lacks oxygen. I did not expect Sitkaspruce to do well on this soil.

Finally, I also found a solitary Sitkaspruce on the SW, fully exposed at 100 m from the seashore and 40 m from a low dune. This spruce looked vigouros aswell, despite 750-760 mm of precipitation. The saltspray adds nutrients to the spruce. it is only one spruce, but all in all I think nutrients could be the decisve factor.

On calciumrich peatbog over here, Sitka's indeed put on 1 m or more. But "here" is The Netherlands, but 200 km away from where I live....

    Bookmark   March 4, 2011 at 6:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sitka Spruce will survive with 840 mm, but it will not thrive - to see good, really happy Sitka Spruce, you need to go to western Scotland where it gets 1500-3000 mm ;-)


    Bookmark   March 4, 2011 at 7:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hmmm...they do not like too much summer precipitation. In places in the UK where there is a growing season surplus of 150mm or more, growth is suboptimal. This is in line with its native range. vancouver for instance receives less rain in summer than where I live. In total, you are of course correct but there has to be a lot of rain from october till march. A wintersurplus.

Based on regeneration, it thrives here in moist and above all nutrient rich soil that is well aeriated. So not clay and not poor sandy soil.

May be this regeneration pics tell you somehting. Some you have seen before. Others not.

Pseudotsuga is very close to my home on sand. Tsuga heterophylla is on higer ground with boulderclay/sand mix.
Sitka spruce is on boulderclay as I have mentioned before.

You can find good regeneration of Doug fir anywhere in the NL, but like this is a bit rare.

Tsuga in the central part of Holland (where they want to get rid of all foreign trees and other species).

You know this one. Sitka spruce regeneration on a former Sea bottom in he middle-northern part o f The Netherlands.

I don't what thriving means in this case: they thrive as a species, but individual trees may not do well...Anyway: they look very healthy in each case where there was abundant regeneration. I the hyperoceanic parts of Europe, particularly found in The UK and Ireland are excellent for Sitka spruce. The Netherlands is not so oceanic. So you'll only find comparable or somehwat comparable circumstances locally...

Still: looks like good regeneration!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2011 at 8:46PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Quick growing - but not huge - conifers?
I'm looking for a few conifers to shield an unattractive...
Yellow variegated Thuja cultivar at local box store!
Great, now EVERYONE is going to own one lol. Saw this...
toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis
Best Conifers/Design Ideas for Full Sun, Wet Clay Soil in pH of 7.8
Hi Everyone, I'm working on redesigning a space for...
Select Landscapes of Iowa
Fast growing conifers?
A lovely wooded lot next to us recently sold. The new...
Group of large conifers - Zone 4
Hi all. I want to plant a group of conifers in a field...
Sponsored Products
Silk Bambusa 7-foot Tree
Suzanne Kasler Tinsel Branches - Set of 3
Ballard Designs
Sleepy Hollow Bird House with Moose Topper - White with Verde Copper Roof
Signature Hardware
The Great Oak at Panshanger Wall Art
$269.00 | FRONTGATE
Trees in Winter Ceramic Vase Table Lamp by The Natural Light
Lamps Plus
Mackinley Cordless Wreath
Grandin Road
Contemporary Indoor/Outdoor Accent Rug: LA Rugs Fun Time Streets Multi Colored
$11.97 | Home Depot
Henry Pouf Treecloud Blue - Donna Wilson, SCP
$336.00 | HORNE
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™