The Colorado spruce grows wild in the Rocky Mountains of the United States. This evergreen tree thrives in rocky, slightly acidic, dry soil. It is fully cold hardy and can tolerate long frozen winters ... but it will die if exposed to flooding. Plant 6-foot Colorado spruce saplings on high, rocky soil and in full sun or partial shade. Grown in full shade, a young Colorado spruce tree will have slow and stunted growth. According to the government of Alberta, a full-grown Colorado spruce will grow 80 feet tall and live for 50 to 100 years. Plant 6-foot Colorado spruce saplings in the fall before the first hard frost.
Dig up and turn over the soil in an area 3 to 5 times larger than the root ball of the 6-foot Colorado spruce sapling. Use a sturdy garden fork or shovel and make the prepared area as deep as the root ball.
Dig a hole in the center of the prepared soil that is 3 to 5 inches wider and as deep as the root ball of your Colorado spruce sapling.
Turn the potted sapling on its side and slide the root ball out of the nursery pot. If it won't slide out easily, grasp the base of the trunk and wiggle it back and forth gently until it comes free.
Place the root ball into the prepared planting hole so that the root collar is level with the surrounding soil. The root collar is the natural break where the trunk becomes the root system. Fill in or remove excess soil until the tree can rest on its own in the hole.
Push soil around the root system with your hands or a small shovel. Pat down the soil as you go to get rid of any air pockets around the roots. Water the area until it is damp to the bottom of the planting hole to settle the soil and help the young roots get established to their new environment.
Spread a 4- to 6-inch layer of mulch in an area three to five times the size of the planting hole. Keep the mulch 6 inches away from the base of the Colorado spruce sapling's stem.