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Colorado Blue Spruce Growth rate

Posted by storey3 NH- Zone 5 (My Page) on
Sat, May 3, 08 at 22:21

Hi all,
I am in love with big, magestic blue spruces that I have seen throughout New England. I so want one for my yard. I have plenty of room as my 1.5 acre lot was practically stripped of all trees when my house was built 3 years ago. The problem is that decent sized ones are sooo expensive for my sad budget. I saw a small, about 2 feet high, one today for $70 at a local nursery. The question is, how long will it take for this tiny tree to break 7 feet? The area I want to put it is pretty sunny.
Thanks for any predictions.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Colorado Blue Spruce Growth rate

Storey3

Nothing more than a guestimate here, but I'm gonna say five years. First year following planting, not much top growth, as the tree works on developing a root system. Subsequent years, barring drought or other calamity, a bit better than a foot of growth per year is what I typically see. In normally wet New England, your results should at least equal what they do around here.

+oM


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RE: Colorado Blue Spruce Growth rate

I hope this isn't heresy on a conifers forum... our Home Depot had Colorado Blue Spruce (in the 2' range) for $6.99 and some incrementally bigger priced up to $15.99. Your local big boxes might have them too. Considerably easier on the budget and would be likely to grow at the same rate as the expensive nursery specimen. :-)


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RE: Colorado Blue Spruce Growth rate

"Considerably easier on the budget and would be likely to grow at the same rate as the expensive nursery specimen"

True about the budget, and sometimes, but far from always, true about the growth rate. If they have been badly treated (e.g. dug up carelessly with fewer and badly damaged roots, or - yes, it happens! - not watered at all after arrival at the box store), recovery may be much slower, if it survives at all.

Resin


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RE: Colorado Blue Spruce Growth rate

5 years is better than I thought. I may have to beg for one of the nursery ones for my bday (that's the only way I get trees these days). Heck, I may even take a leap of faith on a couple little ones from HD if I could find them. I must say, our HD seems to have active staff tending to the trees. There is always someone in there watering and dead heading. Best bet is to get them out of there asap though.

When is the best time to plant CBS? Is any special care involved? It's still mighty cool here these days.
Thanks for the reponses.


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RE: Colorado Blue Spruce Growth rate

best time to buy an unnamed version.. is jsut after bud break .. it will be as blue as it is ... it will never get bluer ....

i would go for a named variety .... spend extra on a smaller one.. that will knock your socks off ... look for hoopsi .. or picea pungens thomsen ...

google girards nursery .... they ought to have sufficient stock for mail order ....

good luck

ken

PS: below are some pix ... the proper name is Picea pungens 'hoopsi' or P. p. Thomsen .... it makes a big difference to use the proper latin.. when looking for a specific plant ...

thomsen ... you can clearly see the growth rate based on the bluest growth ....
Picea pungens 'Thomsen'

hoopsi
Photobucket

hoopsi
Photobucket


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RE: Colorado Blue Spruce Growth rate

Ken
Thanks so much for the pics, advice and the site link. I checked them out and may just need to make a purchase. How big are their trees at shipping, the Hoopsi, in particular? I know exactly where I could put it.

However, now I'm wondering if the trees I have in my head are even spruces. The look like the above photos but are HUGE, at least 20 ft tall. On that site, none of the descriptions say they get that large. Could I be thinking of something else or do other species get larger?


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RE: Colorado Blue Spruce Growth rate

Blue Spruce can reach 50m tall in the wild

Resin

Here is a link that might be useful: Flora of North America: Picea pungens


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RE: Colorado Blue Spruce Growth rate

height and width .. dimensions.. as a industry standard ... are given at 10 years ...

find the annual growth rate ... i am guessing about 1 foot per year for pungens ....

starting with a one gal .. one footer ... and leaving out the year of establishment .. in 10 years.. it will be 10 feet.. year 11 .. 11 feet.. year 20 20 feet .. etc ...

no trees ever stop getting bigger ... some just slow down as they age.. like the rest of us.. lol ...

i dont know what stock girards has available ... turn off the computer.. and pick up the phone.. lol .. boy that was a flashback to dial up days ... lol ...

your budget is the only limitation to what you can have shipped ... you can rent a semi and have a 20 footer delivered ... if you win the lotto ... but keep in mind.. the smaller it is.. the easier it handles the shipping and transplant .... big is not necessarily better... a 5 footer.. might take 3 years of slow growth to recover it root mass .... and a smaller might take off like a rocket the second year .... and 10 years down the line.. they may be the same size .. go figure on that ...

there are many conifer mail order supplies .... but many of them .. work in such low productions .. that it is hard to find EXACTLY what you want ... google is great for such ...

and ask teh potential seller.. if they dont have hoopsi .. what do they have that is akin .. there are many look alikes in the conifer world ..

but the problem is.. you have to mail order to get stuff.... that will make your toes curl ...

i have over 300 conifers ... at least half of them came in the mail ... and 98% of them came in one gal pots ... they now range in size.. over 8 years ... from 15 to one foot tall ... and most of them make my toes curl ... the budget rules.. and i rather have 5 $20 plants for $100 rather than one for $100 ... and if one works out as a dude ... so be it ...

good luck

ken

PS: i can not ID the plants in your head.. lol ...


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RE: Colorado Blue Spruce Growth rate

Ken,

I actually landed myself a Hoopsii this weekend, an 7' beauty. It is the most beautiful tree I've ever owned. I also got a 7' Baby Blue Eyes which is almost as amazing looking. Those are my biggest trees ... I can't afford any more and I can't move anymore myself. I don't pay for planting from the pros because of the cost and I don't feel they do a great job either.

I can't speak with the authority as the rest of you, but there are tons of very magnificent blue spruces in residential neighborhoods here in Colorado ... most have outgrown their spaces significantly ... but most of the giants are in homes built in the 60's and 70's ... so a foot a year sounds right.

These trees seem to take on a different look as they get really tall (layers of branches) ... but when they are smaller, you don't get the same look, IMHO.

Scott


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RE: Colorado Blue Spruce Growth rate

I'm thinking about buying a few Colorado's myself. How far apart should I plant them, and how far away from my concrete block wall should they be planted when they're only about 1 foot tall?

Also, I read that they can grow anywhere from 50-70 feet tall and about 35 feet across. What I don't know is the distance between the ground and the first layer of branches. Do these evergreens usually grow close to the ground?


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RE: Colorado Blue Spruce Growth rate

samie

go to google.com .... insert picea pungens ... and go to the IMAGES pages .... to get a good concept of the ultimate size of these monsters ....

40 to 50 feet from the house and the wall ....

unless you buy a specific dwarf or mini version ...

ken

PS: on the other hand.. buy small ... grow them until they are 5 to 7 feet tall.. and then harvest them for an xmas tree ... buy one each year to get a cycle going ...


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RE: Colorado Blue Spruce Growth rate

It's only a good christmas tree for sado-masochists. The needles are viciously sharp, not nice to have indoors!

Resin


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RE: Colorado Blue Spruce Growth rate

I found this link that describes a lot of the cultivars.

http://web1.msue.msu.edu/imp/modzz/00001096.html


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RE: Colorado Blue Spruce Growth rate

Thanks so much for the education and advice. I ordered a 1 gallon Hoopsi from Girards. I'm so excited!
Thanks again!
Chris


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RE: Colorado Blue Spruce Growth rate

Just a note about the trees you may find at the "big box" stores: Don't make any assumptions that they are bad--they may be a bit careless about what they buy and sell to the public, but they don't make any special efforts to always offer terrible trees. Before you pay a lot for some tree, check out your local Walmart, Home Depot, etc.

This year here in Winchester, VA the local Walmart had really, really top quality green giants--better than any of the regular nurseries around here had for two to four times the price. I bought some and the root systems were beautiful.

And the same Walmart had Colorado spruce that were just sold as seedlings. Some obviously were, but there were two mixed in that had color and form as good as any I have ever seen, including Hoopsi--2 1/2 footers for $24. I wonder if these were really seedlings, or if somehow some special blue cultivars got mixed in by mistake. I have loads of blue spruce, or I would have walked away with those beauties.

As for the growth rate for blue spruce in good soil in the Northeast and central Atlantic states--18" per year would be a good average. Vigorous strains on very good soils can beat that. But they may not achieve that growth rate for several years after planting, if they are small and/or have some transplant shock.

--Spruce


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RE: Colorado Blue Spruce Growth rate

Good points spruceman. I just noticed a Thompsen at Lowes last night. I also have been eying a supiciously weepy looking "blue spruce" at HD recently. Nobody will buy it, it seems, but it is really healthy looking and definately somewhat weeping ... not sure what it is or if that one just tends to have that habit a bit.


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RE: Colorado Blue Spruce Growth rate

IT depends on the store re: the box stores.

Our local Lowe's has horrible stock - it's as if the staff doesn't know how to water plants. EVERYTHING in the "greenhouse" section was bone-dry, and dead or dying, but the outside stuff was OK probably thanks to the 4.3 inches of rain we've had the last month.

Our Home Depot, on the other hand, seems to do better with them.


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RE: Colorado Blue Spruce Growth rate

Okay, now I need to head to Walmart to see what they have there. I've scoured all our Lowes and they only had some generic ones. I'll keep watching though.


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RE: Colorado Blue Spruce Growth rate

What I really hate about Lowes is how they don't put prices on anything. I nicely mentioned it to one guy last night and he said he agreed ... and said he his suggestions have fallen on 'deaf ears'.

So today I told a guy at another Lowes that it would be nice if the trees had prices on them. He immediately got all pissy and defensive. I said, "hey, its not personal, but rather a helpful suggestion". He said he took it personally and said "we can't put prices on every tree"!!! He said they put out signs (but they had all blown away, apparently). I said, "why not, your competitors do it ... and its really nice to know the price as a customer". He then turned away and ranted: "thats why they are losing money and we aren't!!"

He really didn't win Lowes any brownie points with me, with such sophmoric behavior ... and he must have been 10 years my senior. Maybe he was just having a bad day.

Honestly, HD is no expert hub ... but they are getting better and doing a lot more right each year ... Lowes appears to be doing everything wrong in my neck of the woods ... both in lack of products, overpriced products ... and no prices on the products.

I told him "it doesn't appear management wants the customer to know the prices" ... he wasn't receptive at all.


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RE: Colorado Blue Spruce Growth rate

I'd give anything to be able to help you, storey3--I have a blue spruce that I have to have taken out this weekend. It's totally misplaced in my yard. Of course, I'm not certain it is a Colorado Blue Spruce. But it is pretty. And just about 7 feet tall.

Good luck to you!

Here is a link that might be useful: Blue Spruce


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RE: Colorado Blue Spruce Growth rate

Gardener at the Gate

If you've decided to leave the rose bush in place, which is apparently the case, that spruce could be moved. It's work, but that's a pretty nice tree.

In my area, spruce are sometimes moved in August, when they are semi-dormant. This is more likely if the weather's been dry for a spell. Otherwise, best done in fall or next spring.

+oM


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RE: Colorado Blue Spruce Growth rate

Oh, that is a beautiful tree. No place for a new home at your house? I have tree envy!


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RE: Colorado Blue Spruce Has Arrived

My one gallon Hoopsi arrived today from Girard's. It looks to be in excellent health!!! Oddly though, it doesn't really have a central leader. It has one section that looks like most of the young conifers I have seen but then there is a large branch that shoots off. Is this common? I can take a pic if that would help.

Also, what is the best place to plant it until it's a bit bigger? I could plant it in it's permanent home easily enough, though the soil there is probably pretty lousy if it's like the rest of my yard and it would be a bit harder to water regularly or I can plant it in a small nursery bed I just started last weekend. The soil in the bed is some loam, dehydrated cow manure, peat moss and a litte top soil. It gets a lot of sun there but is in a prime location for me to easily water it as needed.

Thanks for the Girard's recommendation.


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RE: Colorado Blue Spruce Growth rate

Do you have picture of your new Hoopsi from Girard's ?


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