alberta spruce and partial shade?

kristen_lynnMay 15, 2007

We're re-doing our front landscaping and we decided that we like the look of an alberta spruce on either side of the stoop. Ordered 2 of them without really thinking about it. Now I'm worried that the partial shade (morning sun, afternoon shade) is going to ruin them. I've read that they "grow best" in full sun. Will they just not really grow in the partial shade, or will they actually lose needles. Anyone have experience with this? I have a few days to cancel my order as I'm not picking up until this weekend. Is there an alternative that I should consider (similar style tree) that's hardier in the shade?

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Kristen, I hate to be the bearer of bad news.. but your sun/shade situation sounds exactly like ours, and we went through about 3 sets of dwarf alberta spruces on each side of our front stoop before we just gave up (they lost all the needles and died every year after winter). So we planted some upright yews there now and so far they seem to be doing wonderfully and are growing well in the mostly-shaded area. We keep them trimmed to a Christmas tree shape and they look very nice. If it's not too late, maybe you can try those instead. Hope this helps! Laura

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 12:31PM
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I have Dwarf Alberta Spruce planted the same way you want to plant yours. I'm in Wisconsin.

The front of my house faces east with a HUGE GIGANTIC maple up front that fans over my entire front yard. We get very little sun except maybe two or three hours tops in the morning. My Alberta Spruce look wonderful. There were a couple of brown branches in the back, but we trimmed those and it's lush enough that it retained its shape. No loss of needles other than the brown branches that I mentioned. I use miracle grow weekly.

I would suggest using a root stimulator when you first plant them, and make sure you water regularly until the roots are established. I watered daily to almost every other day during the growing season for the first year, and then weekly thereafter. This is the third year, and they look better than ever. I don't know what all the fuss is about. Maybe I've just had good luck with mine (and I don't have a green thumb!) With a little TLC, I think they'll be fine.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 1:01AM
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Kristen, one other thing worth mentioning. When I water my Alberta Spruce, I NEVER water the needles. I put the hose at the base of the tree and water there, instead of watering all over the branches. I think that also helps prevent browning.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 1:04AM
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Actually, water on the needles is a good thing for them - it helps discourage spider mites, which are the main killers of D.A.S.


    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 4:45AM
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dcsteg(5 Shawnee, KS.)

They should do fine in partial shade. I have several cultivar of this conifer growing in a situation such as you described. All sides of this conifer need some sun. Any part that is denied of any sun will be leggy, weak, with some needle loss. The bigger the conifer the more noticeable the damage will be.


    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 9:26AM
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Mike Larkin

I NEVER water the needles -- A hard spray of water will dislodge the spider mites that this plant is bond to get.

Since you already ordered then asked - plant them and see what happens - I think that the exposure that you are taking about may work ok - the spider mites will be a bigger problem.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 5:37PM
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I have a North facing front and the foundation plants (hollies and andromeda) only get any sun in the afternoon after about 1:00 pm - and only in the summer. Zero direct sun in the winter months.
The above are doing OK but I moved a scintillation that wasnt gettting anough sun - will a dwarf Alberta Spruce do OK on the corner in a situation like that described? Its afternoon sun not morning sun - if that makes a difference.

Also I wondered if I bought TWO dwarf ALbertas - planted one on the corner of the house STILL IN ITS CONTAINER and put its twin in the sun elswhere in the garden - and then swapped them around every spring - would that work?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 9:37AM
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Bumping this up to inform you that our Alberta Spruce did not survive this area. The one that got less sunlight did even worse, but neither thrived without enough sun. We also really didn't have to dig much when pulling them out - not sure if they are typically shallow rooted, or if they never established themselves in this area because our soil is on the dry side due to huge maple trees lining our street.

Either way, I wish I had read about the spider mites previously. I have another in a container for the past several years in full sun, never noticed mites but it does get some browning which I had ASSUMED was due to not enough water. I keep it outside year round. So, I'll have to check for spider mites, but otherwise I enjoy it as a container planting.

Still, I thought I read somewhere that typically you should not water the leaves (aside from the spider mites), but if the plant has ample moisture, it becomes less susceptible to spider mites.

So, based on my personal experience I'd like to retract my previous post. LOL.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 4:02AM
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