Landscaping With Colorado Blue Spruce


Colorado Blue Spruce (Picea pungens) requires thoughtful consideration for placement in your landscape plan. Horticulturalist Michael Dirr notes the intensely colored bright blue cultivars are tricky to combine with other plants and recommends using only as an accent in an urban landscape. In a rural landscape, the stiff pyramidal shape sets a formal tone lining a driveway or yard. Native to the Rocky Mountain Region, Colorado blue spruce grows 30- to 50-feet tall with a spread of 10 to 20 feet, ranging in color from silvery-blue to greenish-blue.

Step 1

Choose a location away from walkways, gathering or play areas. The needles are extremely sharp, posing a hazard for casual gardeners, children and pets. These trees have a high wildlife value. Songbirds frequently nest in the safety of the thorn-like needles.

Step 2

Space trees 16-feet apart for a privacy shield or windscreen. Plan for a spread of 20 feet when planting near property lines, roads or buildings.

Step 3

Plant Colorado blue spruce trees in full sun to retain the blue color and dense branching. They become leggy and lose their silvery blue color in a semi-shady position.

Step 4

Plant in moist to semi-dry soils. This tree will not tolerate lowland flooding or standing water. Colorado blue spruces thrive in acidic soils with PH of 4.5 to 6.5.

Step 5

Water trees during prolonged drought. While P. pungens is one of the most tolerant spruces to drier soils, water stress reduces ability to resist disease and insects.

Step 6

Do not prune the trees. The natural habitat of this tree has branches sweeping the ground. Choose a location that allows space for a mature tree.

Step 7

Plant evergreen trees on the north side of your home in an urban landscape and on the prevailing wind side for a rural shelterbelt.

Tips and Warnings

  • Colorado Blue Spruce is highly susceptible to fungal disease and insects when planted outside of its native range. Check with your local extension office or a reputable nursery for information before you purchase trees. Ask what is the life expectancy and about alternatives for your area. Do not plant under a power line due to the height of a mature tree.


  • "Manual of Woody Landscape Plants;" Michael Dirr; 1990
  • "Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines for Urban and Rural America;" Gary Hightshoe; 1988
  • University of Nebraska: Colorado Spruce
  • University of Minnesota: Colorado Spruce Diseases

Who Can Help

  • North Dakota State Univesity: Questions on Spruce
Keywords: landscape trees, Colorado blue spruce, blue spruce trees, evergreen landscaping