Blue Spruce Height

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by ck54, Oct 26, 2006.

  1. ck54

    ck54 Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Hi newbie here. I'm planting a privacy screen of conifers and am hoping to have my screen made up of Vanderwolf's Pyramids and Blue Spruce. However, the height potential of the Blue Spruces scare me. Ideally, I would like the line to top out at 20ft, but could live with 25ft. Is there any reasonable means of controlling the blue spruces at that height, without the tree morphing into a mess? I'm aware of the Fat Albert variety, but my local nursery does not sell them and looking elsewhere is pretty cost prohibitive for my situation. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    11,223
    Likes Received:
    407
    Location:
    Britain zone 8/9
    Effectively, no. If you cut the tops off on their reaching that height, they would develop a very unsightly shape, and grow several new leaders which would be weakly attached and liable to breakage in storms or snow.

    By the way, 'Vanderwolf's Pyramid' will get just as tall as Blue Spruce (20-25 metres at maturity), so you'll have the same problem with them. If you want a lower screen, try some different species that won't get so tall. Pinus virginiana (Scrub Pine) or Pinus pungens (Table-mountain Pine) would be about right. So would Thuja occidentalis (Arborvitae); they look a bit 'ordinary' as a screen (because everyone has them!), though on the plus side, they are very readily available which the pines are less so.
     
  3. ck54

    ck54 Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Michael,
    Thank you. That is what I figured. However, the good news for me is that I took some time to drive around the neighborhood and check out some similar pines and spruces and I think my desire to keep them to 20-25 ft was unneccesary. I've seen plenty in the area that are in the 40-50ft range and I think I can live with that, especially since it'll be a number of years before the ones I'm planning on planting will reach that height. (I'm purchasing 6 footers.) What is your opinion on the amount of growth annually for these to types of trees? I've seen 6-12 inches for the spruces and 3-6 inches for the pine...

    Chris
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,941
    Likes Received:
    654
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    That is way too slow for the pine. It often grows faster than the spruce.
     
  5. ck54

    ck54 Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Interesting. In a few different places (gov't sites and university sites) I've seen the pine labeled a slow grower and the spruce a moderate one. Guess I need to do some more digging. Thanks for the tip.
     
  6. smivies

    smivies Active Member

    Messages:
    793
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Kingston, Ontario, Canada
    It will be 15 to 20 years before your 6' trees hit 25' & 45 years before getting to 50'. With those timeframes, I wouldn't be too concerned with their hieght because...a) you might have moved on by then, & b) if you're still there, your expectations of the screen will have evolved over time & 50' won't seem so tall.

    Blue spruce can get quite wide...how does that fit into your plans for the screen? Will it start to crowd out other aspects of your landscape?

    Simon
     
  7. ck54

    ck54 Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Simon,
    Thanks for your response. How wide are you suggesting? In my mind, based on reading widths of 10'-20', I'm thinking 15' and as part of a screen, with the trees growing slightly into one another (or is that a no-no?), I'm projecting about 12' of realized width, and at worst maybe 15' or 16'. Am I way off base?
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2006
  8. smivies

    smivies Active Member

    Messages:
    793
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Kingston, Ontario, Canada
    In the 20' to 25' tall range, widths of 12' to 16' are probably reasonable. By the time they get to 50' tall, 20' will be a more likely maximum diameter.

    Simon
     
  9. ck54

    ck54 Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Like you said previously, I may not be around/would have different expectations by the time the trees hit 50', however, at that time they'll overly dominate the area of the yard in which they'd be. Likely, the future homeowner, or hopefully I, would have to remove them. I'm not looking to merely "rent" tress for the time I would have a usefulness for them, so I'm probably going to go with either the Fat Albert or Black Hills varieties. In your opinion, how would the Vanderwolf's Pyramid and Black Hills look in a contrasting wind/privacy screen? Would the blue and green be appealing or too much contrast? Thanks again for your help!
     
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,941
    Likes Received:
    654
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    The pine is a vigorous Pinus reflexa cultivar that has more horsepower than will be seen being demonstrated by P. flexilis, especially trees growing under less than prime conditions on some sites in the wild. Wide-spreading branches can be expected at some point, on an open site (thus the 'Pyramid' part of the name).
     
  11. ck54

    ck54 Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Thanks Ron, your input is greatly appreciated. What an awesome online community this is!
     

Share This Page