intermediate to dwarf conifers suited for 7a

dave-highdesertFebruary 2, 2012

I have two questions. First, in your opinion, what are the 6 or 7 top intermediate ( up to 12') or dwarf (3' to 12') conifers that are well-suited for this 7a zone? I live in Albuquerque, NM, elevation 5,280 ft., high desert with limited rainfall (10-15"), and increasingly hot summers. Secondly, is the Vanderwolf pine one of those conifers? And if it is well-suited, how big does it grow? Its tag says 15'x8'. Does that mean 15' tall or 15' wide? I seen other estimates that are taller and wider, but plants and trees do not generally grow as large here because of our arid, alkaline soil and low humidity air. Thanks for sharing your opinions.

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kbguess(z5 IA)

My parents live in ABQ. I have been gifting them conifers from High Country Gardens for several years. P. ponderosa and P. edulis are doing well in full sun. Abies concolor is doing ok in semi shade conditions. They lost P. aristata twice. All are/were grafted dwarf cultivars. This year they are getting a Picea pungens which I am pretty confident will do ok. My dad is consistent with watering, but I dont think he fertilizes.

When i have visited and walked the neighborhood (NE heights) I have seen species of the above (except aristata) looking healthy. Others looking healthy are blue atlas cedar and Japanese black pine (P. thunbergii) and Picea abies. I don't think P. nigra looked healthy but I might not be remembering correctly on that.

Conifers continue to grow and the tags are usually 10 year estimations. They will be about half as big at 5 years and twice as big at 20 years. VDW is taller than wide.

For the sizes you mention, I'd focus on dwarfs from one of the species that seem healthy in your neighborhood.


    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 8:21PM
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I agree, HCG is a great place to start.

Another idea is Pseudotsuga menziesii. There are many dwarfs available for this species.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 10:48PM
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Hi. I live near Santa Fe, and am wanting to grow some dwarf conifers in containers, due to serious gopher problems.

Has anyone in the northern NM area tried this, and with what kind of results?

Many thanks!


    Bookmark   August 18, 2012 at 4:48PM
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I'm not in northern NM (but not too far from there either). You should definitely be able to grow dwarf conifers in containers with good results! Do you have any particular cultivers in mind?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 9:36AM
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Hi sluice, and many thanks for your response. I am looking at various pinus including albicaulis, aristata, cembra glauca, parviflora, and thunbergii thunderhead. Also am considering cryptomeria japonica black dragon and Abies lasiocarpa Glauca Compacta.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 1:50PM
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I see this thread originated last February, but that shouldn't change my recommendation that anyone researching trees in central NM should check out Trees That Please. Michael Martin Melandrez grew up in the area and knowns the trees intimately. He's personally tried just about everything, and furthermore, has access to material otherwise unavailable.

Here is a link that might be useful: Trees That Please

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 11:55AM
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Merlin, looks like an excellent list. Please keep us posted on your results!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 11:08AM
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