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How to Plant Spruce Trees

Spruce trees are hardy evergreens that can withstand extreme winters and can survive up to 200 years. They are often grown to be used as Christmas trees or along property lines for privacy in USDA hardiness zones 2 to 7. Over 100 varieties are available including the blue spruce, Colorado spruce and Norway spruce, just to name a few.

Plant spruce trees in the spring, once the ground is soft and workable, or in the fall, just before the ground freezes. Planting trees during hot weather can cause more stress and may shock your tree.

Select a planting site in full sun. Large open spaces are common areas to plant spruce trees due to the size some species can attain.

Dig a hole so that is about twice as large and just as deep as the spruce’s current container or root ball.

Bury a slow-releasing fertilizer pellet a couple inches below the hole. Use a pellet designed for a Christmas tree.

Remove the tree from its container or take off the burlap. If your spruce is wrapped in biodegradable burlap, then use a knife to vertically slice the burlap every six inches. Remove the wires, since they are not biodegradable.

Set the tree in the hole. Have a second person help you if possible. Be sure the roots fit the hole. Don’t allow them to twist up along the wall of the hole so that they face upward. Cut the roots, if necessary, to fit the hole.

Hold the tree straight and backfill the soil until the hole is filled halfway. Then water the tree. Allow the water to seep and then step all around the soil to remove any air pockets. Fill the hole the rest of the way and water again. After it seeps in, then step all around your tree to remove any remaining air pockets, which can later cause root rot.

Add 3 to 4 inches of mulch under the entire canopy of the tree. This will help retain water and maintain soil temperatures.


Space multiple trees at least 35 to 50 feet apart. Allow enough room for your trees to grow to mature width, which varies among species.

Fertilize spruce trees in the spring using a low nitrogen fertilizer (about 4-4-4). Use 0.15 pounds of fertilizer per diameter of tree for trees less than 6 inches in diameter. Use .30 pounds per diameter for larger trees.

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