Blue Spruce vs Red Maple

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by Andrzej, Feb 10, 2007.

  1. Andrzej

    Andrzej Active Member

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    Hi,
    About 2 years ago we moved to this area and got nice house.
    The back yard is on the western exposure so we needed some shade. We have planted 15 ft Red Maple on the back yard last fall.
    Two weeks ago we got 13 ft Blue Spruce from the nursery. We planted it closer to the patio about 15 ft from the maple and 7 ft from the fance and patio. Is that to close? Do we need to move the maple ?
    Thank you for advice

    Andrzej
     
  2. smivies

    smivies Active Member

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    They are probably too close for long term co-existence...the red maple will ulitmately win that battle. I would be more concerned with the location of the Blue spruce. Seven feet of space between it and your patio will quickly get eaten up and before you know it you'll be sitting beside a wall of blue needles. That will probably result in the need to limb up the spruce which, IMOH, never looks good.

    Simon
     
  3. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    There is one advantage that you have.

    The Japanese maple can be pruned to the reverse form of the spruce. The spruce forms a triangle and the Japanese maple can form an upright triangular / vase form. The two are an excellent shape combination.

    So you can train the maple to accomodate the blue spruce - and both grow fairly slowly compared to other trees.
     
  4. smivies

    smivies Active Member

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    I think Andrzej planted a Red Maple (Acer rubrum), which will be a big tree, but I guess it could have been a red Japanese Maple?

    Simon
     
  5. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I read it as Acer rubrum too, and agree with Simon, they're too close for the long term. Best to move the spruce to a new position about 3 times as far from the patio and maple - go metric, and move it to the same number of metres, that it is in feet now.
     
  6. Andrzej

    Andrzej Active Member

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    Gentelmans,
    Thank you very much for your response!!!
    The maple is Acer rubrum. Actually the distance from the center of spruce to the patio
    is about 10 ft (patio is 30ft x 25ft). I am not sure if I can move the Spruce, it will block
    the sun for Red Maple. I can only move Maple to the center of the grass. Both trees are more to the right corner so they can be on the full sun. Can I also cut the lower branches of spruce in the future ? And what about moving Maple next year or a few years from now? Is that going to be possible, or it will damage the tree?
    And what if I leave it as is, ... Maple win and will Spruce's roots die?

    Best regards,

    Andrzej
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2007
  7. Andrzej

    Andrzej Active Member

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    How many years I have before the conopy get to close to each other?

    Thank you again for help.

    Andrzej
     
  8. Andrzej

    Andrzej Active Member

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    Simon,

    How much time do I have before they get too close?
    Are they going to grow OK like that?

    Thank you much
    Andrzej
     
  9. smivies

    smivies Active Member

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    To answer your third to last reply....Don't worry about the spruce blocking sun to the maple. The maple is more shade tolerant than the spruce and will persevere and out pace the spruce. Cutting the lower branches of spruce trees, while common, is really unattractive. It's usually reserved for situations where the tree was placed in the wrong spot initially and for Parks where there is a fear that lurkers will be hiding in amongst the branches. These are already big trees, they best be moved sooner than later. And finally.....this is not a root competition & the roots will not die if they intermingle. It is purely a light issue. Red Maples are big trees with a wide spread and Blue spruce are shade intolerant.

    Now to answer the last question....I can visuallize them interfering with each other in about 10 years and the Maple will have completely won the battle 5-10 years after that.

    Simon
     
  10. Andrzej

    Andrzej Active Member

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    Simon,

    Thank you very much.

    Regards,

    Andrzej
     
  11. WadeT

    WadeT Active Member 10 Years

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    The red maple will grow like crazy (3'+per year) if you keep it watered during the summer. The Blue Spruce however, will grow mayble 6" per year and most here look sickly. IMO, a better match up would be a Sugar Maple and Giant Sequioa.
     
  12. Andrzej

    Andrzej Active Member

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    Thanks Wade,

    I think I keep my tree. I put already a lot 0f $$$

    Regards,

    Andrzej
     
  13. tlpenner

    tlpenner Active Member

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    Just another thought--since blue spruce are not so excited about our coastal conditions, you will have to choose the site carefully. They like to be cold and dry in winter, then wet in spring and early summer. Take a look at their native habitat (prairies and rocky mountain slopes), and try to find a spot in your garden that is most similar. (Ie--keep it in full sun on all sides, give it space and do not plant in a depression that will keep it wet continuously through the winer).

    It is true that they can look pretty shabby in our climate after a few years, but I have seen some that are grand (as a single specimen tree in the southwest corner of a property seems to work) and they provide a unique shade of blue in the landscape.

    The growth habit tends to be very symmetrical and compact; they should not be pruned. At all.

    Good luck!
     
  14. Andrzej

    Andrzej Active Member

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    I think the space for my spruce has a lot of sun. It is on the western exposure.
    I guess it will grow as long as the maple takes over in 10-20 years.
    Will see.
    Thanks again
    Andrzej
     
  15. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    "Sickly" is due to mites or aphids causing premature leaf drop. Our mild winters do not kill these pests off, so cold climate conifers become plagued with them and deteriorate prematurely.
     
  16. WadeT

    WadeT Active Member 10 Years

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    Ron, would that explain why Blue spruces look better in the North East than West of the Cascades?
     
  17. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Northeast WA or Northeast USA? In WA our best examples are seen in places like Spokane, where climate and soils probably more like native range.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2007
  18. WadeT

    WadeT Active Member 10 Years

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    Yea, I mean North East USA. Most pics I've Blue Spruces look quite nice. Unlike West of the Cacades(here).
     
  19. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    When I posted, for some reason I was thinking Japanese maple instead of an Acer rubrum / red maple. Must have been tired !!
     
  20. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Cold winters back there, too. To be in Zone 8 in the east you have to be well into the South.
     
  21. Andrzej

    Andrzej Active Member

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    My neighboor has Japanese maple. It is a nice tree. I asked for it in the nursery.
    They have about 14-15 ft tall a the price told me was $ 12000 !!!
     
  22. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Sounds like it was a weeping laceleaf maple. One that tall could be 70-100 years old.
     
  23. Andrzej

    Andrzej Active Member

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    That is right Ron.
    Lena (the girl who works there) told me the tree is about 100 years old.

    Regards,

    Andrzej
     
  24. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Supposedly one at a previous NW Flower & Garden Show went for more than twice that amount.
     
  25. Andrzej

    Andrzej Active Member

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    Where is the next NW show?
     

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