Replacement for a Koster

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by TYW, Jul 21, 2004.

  1. TYW

    TYW Member

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    Location:
    Edmonton
    I moved from BC to northern Alberta (definitely zone 2 climate) and into a brand new home. I am in the process of finishing the landscaping. The home came with a professionally designed landscaping plan. On the SE corning of the house (full sun all day), the landscape architect called for the use of a Picea pungens "Koster" to occupy a 10ft diameter area surrounded by a variety of shrubs. That corner is one of the lowest spots on the lots so much of the rain water from my house and my neighbour's house will drain into the area. Picea pungens "Glauca" is abundant in the area but I am afraid that it will outgrow the corner in no time.

    I have tried pretty much every local nurseries and cannot find a Koster anywhere. Pretty much the only way I can get a Koster here in Alberta is to pay an enormous shipping fee and get one shipped from Ontario or BC.

    I have been doing some research on finding an alternative to the Koster. I have a couple of ideas in mind but is wondering if others have any suggestions?
     
  2. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Hi TYW:

    < On the SE corning of the house (full sun all day), the
    landscape architect called for the use of a Picea pungens
    "Koster" to occupy a 10ft diameter area surrounded by a
    variety of shrubs. That corner is one of the lowest spots
    on the lots so much of the rain water from my house and
    my neighbour's house will drain into the area. >

    Aside from my being painfully honest in these forms, no
    one respects the fact that I may know some of these trees
    better than they do. I have a real problem with your
    landscape architect. Putting that Spruce in a low wet spot
    in my mind is a guaranteed way to ensure you will kill it.
    Blue Spruce have to be somewhat mounded high as root
    rot is a major problem for these trees. Colorado Blue
    Spruce do not like their roots being wet for any real length
    of time. A moist, fast draining soil is one thing but a
    sustained during Winter, wet soil is quite another. Unless
    you can mound up the site for a Spruce at that particular
    spot, I cannot in good conscience recommend you planting
    one there.

    I have done some checking a few days ago and yes, you
    are indeed up against it trying to find a 'Koster' near you.
    I suppose I could have asked one of my very best and oldest
    online friends whom lives in Ohaton, near Camrose, what
    his wife thinks may be a good nursery to buy from but I did
    not find many sources at all near you. There are some
    sources in British Columbia you may want to check out
    but you risk buying the tree sight unseen which is another
    thing I cannot recommend either. I would do some
    checking around Calgary, even if it means the possibility
    of a 4 hour, one way drive for you just to look at possible
    trees for that location.

    Aside from Koster, look for a Bakeri, the true from of
    Glauca, Fat Albert, Hoopsi, Iseli Fastigiata or Iseli
    Foxtail as alternatives.

    The 10' spread to me is not an issue as it will take your
    Spruce several years to get that wide, depending on how
    large the tree is when you plant it.

    Here is a URL that can give you some ideas as far as Spruce
    to grow instead of Koster. Notice none of them are planted
    in a low wet spot.

    http://www.coenosium.com/text399/arnoldar.htm

    Jim
     
  3. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Metro Vancouver, BC, Canada.
    For a potential; source of trees and shrubs somewhat nearer than BC try here:

    http://www.albertatreemovers.com/

    I have met some of the staff at certification meetings and other fun industry events, they seem competent and reliable.
     
  4. TYW

    TYW Member

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    Location:
    Edmonton
    Thanks for the reponses. The SE corner, despite being the lowest point on my property, is well above the surrounding areas because I do live near the top of a hill. Water from my property and a neighbouring property should drain into that corner then onto the street and down the hill. I hope it is okay to put a spruce there.

    I have looked at the various variety available locally (not wanting to pay an outrageous amount to ship one from BC). The Hoopsii looks good. Nice colour, good shape for that corner with surrounding shrubs and smaller trees.

    Given that I live in a suburb of Edmonton, definitely zone 2 climate, I am assuming that the Hoopsii won't reach its potential size of 60ft. tall /20 ft. wide. I am thinking that it will max out at about 10-15ft. wide and 30ft. tall. Am I right to think that?
     
  5. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    Hi TYW:

    < Given that I live in a suburb of Edmonton, definitely zone
    2 climate, I am assuming that the Hoopsi won't reach its
    potential size of 60ft. tall /20 ft. wide. I am thinking that it
    will max out at about 10-15ft. wide and 30ft. tall. Am I right
    to think that? >

    Grown in full sun Hoopsi will grow more angular (taller and
    narrower) as opposed to shorter and wider grown in lots of
    shade. As long as you make sure to make a mound for this
    Spruce and you have no standing water for any length of time
    then you should be okay with a Spruce in that location. What
    a few homeowners do here is after the Spruce gets to about
    8' in height they will start to trim the lowest branches to let
    in some light and then plant some shade loving annuals for
    color underneath the tree. We can get away with doing that
    easier than you can as you have to be more concerned about
    your care of the pruning than we have to. You may want to
    talk to Paul about pruning or perhaps shearing your Spruce
    but for a number of years you should not have to do any real
    pruning to your tree. The spread should not be a problem for
    you grown in lots of sun. As far as you seeing this tree at 60'
    that will take about 30-40 or more years in optimal growing
    areas but in your location with your growing season I do not
    expect this tree to get too much over 40' tall and 15' wide in
    the next 25-30 years or so.

    Hoopsi has a slightly thicker needle than Koster but is a little
    brighter colored blue than Koster is. Both Spruce have about
    the same growing habit.

    Jim
     
  6. TYW

    TYW Member

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    Location:
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    Thank you for the advice!

    I will definitely make a mound for the tree. Thank you for the advice.
     
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Location:
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    Colorado spruce grows on flats near rivers in the wild, maybe that's why the designer thought it would be suitable for a damp spot. Whether a plant will take a specific site always boils down to the specifics involved, such as just how damp it is, probably what water molds may be present, and so on.
     

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