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How to Transplant Blue Spruce Tree Seedlings

Blue spruce trees are slow growing evergreens that like sunny areas with moist, well-draining soil. Blue spruces grow 30 to 90 feet tall and 10 to 20 feet wide. They develop blue-green to silver-green needles. Blue spruces tolerate heat poorly, though they tolerate drought better than other species of spruce. Keep blue spruce seedlings sheltered and watered until transplanting. The ideal time to plant or transplant blue spruce tree seedling is in the spring before active growth begins.

Dig a hole as deep as the root ball and twice the diameter of either the pot it came in or the root ball (if wrapped in burlap). The seedling needs to be planted at the same depth as the root wrap.

Rough up the sides of the hole with the edge of your shovel. Scrape and loosen the soil so the roots will be able to grow out of the hole later.

Remove the burlap sack by cutting it with a sharp knife. Remove all tags, wire, string and twine from the trunk, branches and roots. This stops these materials from cutting into the tree as it grows.

Loosen the soil around the roots and gently spread the roots out. If left alone, they may grow in a ball instead of growing outward.

Place the tree in the hole and backfill with soil until it is half filled. Fill the remainder of hole with water. Add more soil to fill the hole the rest of the way. (The water should soak into the soil completely during this process.) Gently tamp down the soil around the seedling. Water the area well to help settle the soil.

Spread 3 inches of mulch around the blue spruce seedling to help preserve moisture and reduce weed growth. Use bark pieces, wood chips, sawdust or straw.


Prevent transplant shock by picking healthy blue spruce trees. Watering regularly will help alleviate shock symptoms. Prune only dead and dying branches the first year after transplanting. The needles are important in creating root growth and should be left on the tree.


Transplant shock is usually found in plants that were not healthy, lacked enough roots, suffered from unprotected branches during transport or were planted in poor-draining or compacted soil. Other causes include the root ball drying out or freezing, planting at the wrong depth or excessive use of fertilizer.

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