Scientific name: Picea pungens
Description: Blue spruce is an evergreen, so stiff that they appear almost artificial. These trees are broadly pyramidal with rigidly horizontal branches. Slow to moderate growth and long lived. Native to the Rocky Mountain regions, the Colorado blue spruce is the only really successful spruce in the Southwest (almost to the Mexican border). Where sufficient moisture is available it is tolerant of temperature extremes, wind and shade. In these areas it holds its shape longer than it does in more favorable parts of the country.
Needles: Needles are sharp, rigidly unbending, sticking straight out from the branches. Color varies in trees raised from seed from dark green through all shades of blue green to icy blue.
Fruits: Straw-colored, cylindrical cones 2-4 inches long, scales thin and flexible, seeds winged, 1/4 inch long. The mature cones hang down from the branch. The seeds within the cone are readily eaten by squirrels, crossbills, and other small mammals and birds. Flowers minute, male yellow tinged with red, female pale green.
Height: 70 to 100 feet tall, about 25 ft. wide.
Elevation: Occurs naturally at 7,000 to 10,000 ft. in Arizona and New Mexico.
Soils: Rich, moist soils
Water Needs: 20″ precipitation equivalent; must have supplemental water in zones of lower precipitation.
Uses: An excellent conservation tree in high elevations. Provides superb nesting, roosting and winter cover for birds and numerous small animals. Equally good as a screening or landscape element for beautification. Usually you see these trees used singly as a formal pyramid decorating a lawn or as a small group of pyramids. They are difficult to use in a garden as anything other than accent pieces.
Management & Care: Where sufficient moisture is available, it is tolerant of temperature extremes, wind and shade.
It has been widely planted as windbreaks. No known serious disease problems. Do best in full sun or light shade.