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Picea pungens (Colorado Spruce)
Picea pungens (Colorado Spruce)

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Zones 2B, 3-7, 14-17
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Full, Partial
Regular Water

Picea breweriana

Brewer’s Weeping Spruce
Evergreen, Trees


Like firs (Abies), spruces are pyramidal, with branches arranged in neat tiers. Unlike firs, however, they have pendent cones, and their needles are stiffer and attached to branches by small pegs that remain behind after the needles drop.

Most spruces are tall timber trees that lose their lower branches fairly early in life as they head upward; their canopies thin out noticeably as they age.

Many species have dwarf varieties useful for foundation plantings, in rock gardens, in containers; these plants have shallow root systems and so need a reasonably cool location. Spruces generally grow best where summers are cool or mild; they will not thrive in heat and humidity. Spruces have no special soil requirements.

Birds are attracted to these trees—both for seeds and for shelter. Check spruces for small, dull green aphids in winter; if they—re present, take control measures at that time to prevent defoliation in spring.

Pine needle scale (look for flat, white scale insects on needles) may encourage sooty mold. In Rocky Mountain states, spruces may be bothered by spider mites and tussock moths.

Picea breweriana

Native to Siskiyou Mountains in California and Oregon. To 30–50 ft. tall and 10–12 ft.wide in cultivation (to 80–120 ft. tall in native habitat). Stiff, upright pyramid in youth; branchlets become pendulous as the tree ages. Very striking form in maturity,with 7–8-ft.-long branchlets hanging vertically from the main branches. Needles are shiny deep green above, gray green beneath. More tender than most spruces. Requires regular water, cool temperatures.

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