The Best Time to Plant Colorado Blue Spruce Trees

Written by beth asher
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The Best Time to Plant Colorado Blue Spruce Trees
Mature blue spruce. (Blue spruce on a background of the sky image by Maslov Dmitry from Fotolia.com)

Colorado blue spruce's blue-tinged foliage has made it a popular landscape plant. Colorado blue spruce can live up to 600 years, according to USDA experts. There are cultivated standards (large) and dwarf cultivars of Colorado blue spruce.

Type of Container Affects Planting Times

The Best Time to Plant Colorado Blue Spruce Trees
Containter-grown spruces suffer little root disturbance. (pots image by Jacques PALUT from Fotolia.com)

There are three main ways to buy Colorado blue spruce: balled and burlapped (B&B), container potted or bare-root. Colorado blue spruce is rarely sold bare-root unless as bulk seedlings. The type of container, or lack of it in the case of bare-root trees, helps determine when to plant the tree.

Climate Affects Planting Times

The Best Time to Plant Colorado Blue Spruce Trees
Harsh winters limit planting times. (spruce image by Mirek Hejnicki from Fotolia.com)

In areas with mild climates, like Southern California, Colorado blue spruce can be planted nearly year-round. Harsh winters and freezing weather limit planting times in certain areas. Use a freeze/frost map like NOAA's to estimate planting times in cold weather areas.

Best Planting Time for Balled and Burlapped

The Best Time to Plant Colorado Blue Spruce Trees
Tender new spruce growth. (spruce image by mzolna from Fotolia.com)

Balled and burlapped trees have diminished root systems. They need to be planted before canopy growth begins. Late winter (February) through early spring (March, April) is best. Planting in early fall is acceptable since leaf and shoot growth has slowed.

Best Planting Time for Bare Root

The Best Time to Plant Colorado Blue Spruce Trees
Past dormancy and breaking out in spring growth. (spruce image by DOLPHIN from Fotolia.com)

Bare root Colorado blue spruces should be planted while dormant so roots can become established before leaf and shoot growth begins. Late winter through early spring is best depending on your climate and ground thaw date. Bare root spruces can also be planted in very early fall.

Best Planting Time for Potted

The Best Time to Plant Colorado Blue Spruce Trees
Early spring spruce before shoot growth. (The branch of spruce image by Vadim Kochenkov from Fotolia.com)

Potted Colorado blue spruces are either spruces dug up and potted for sale, or spruces that have been entirely container grown. Plant potted spruces in late spring through early fall. Spruces potted in field soil need early spring planting. Planting in spring through early fall is best for spruces grown in containers.

Avoid Late Fall Planting

The Best Time to Plant Colorado Blue Spruce Trees
Late fall planting leaves spruces open to winter injury. (branch of spruce tree image by GeoM from Fotolia.com)

Late fall-planted Colorado blue spruces will not have time to get established. They are very susceptible to winter injury and dieback.

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