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Alternatives for the Colorado Blue Spruce

The blue green foliage and classic pyramidal shape have made Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens hardy in zones 3 to 7, 8 to 9 on the west coast) a favorite of gardeners. But its large mature size and cultural requirements have resulted in plants that have outgrown their location or succumb to diseases.

Consider a concolor fir, like Blue Cloak (Abies concolor ‘Blue Cloak’ hardy in zones 4 to 7), if you like the look of blue spruce but want to avoid its disease problems. 

Select a pine when looking for an evergreen more tolerant of adverse soil, weather exposure and urban conditions than the spruce and fir. 

Add texture and color with Tiny Kurls eastern white pine (Pinus strobus ‘Tiny Kurls’, hardy in zones 3 to 8). Its dwarf mounded habit and twisted blue green needles add to its appeal.

Use junipers for those hot dry locations.  Medora (Juniperus scopulorum ‘Medora’hardy in Zones 3 to 7) requires no pruning to maintain its narrow habit and Star Power’s (Juniperus chinensis ‘JN Select Blue’, hardy in zones 3 to 6) dense prickly nature makes a good deer resistant screen.

A bit more information: The pine featured in this segment was a Pacific Blue Macedonia Pine (Pinus peuce ‘Pacific Blue’).  This blue-needled pine holds its needles for multiple years, giving the plants a full appearance. Hardy in zones 4 to 8, it tolerates cold and wind.


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