If you are looking for a slow-growing, dense conifer with a pyramid form, consider planting a dwarf Alberta spruce. Marketed as dwarf white spruce or dwarf spruce, these trees are available at most garden centers in growing zones two through six. While the dwarf spruce eventually grows to be 10 to 12 feet tall, it often takes 25 to 30 years to get that tall. It retains its form, requires little pruning, and adapts well to container living for use as accent on a deck or patio.
Things You'll Need
- Tape measure
- Soaker hose
Prepare a well-drained spot with full or partial sun for the dwarf spruce. Set the spruce in an area protected from strong winter winds. The planting spot needs to be at least 3 or 4 feet away from foundations to allow the roots room to grow.
Measure how deep and wide the soil is in the dwarf Alberta spruce's container. Use a shovel to dig a hole at least that deep. Make the hole two or three times wider. As you dig, loosen the soil around the hole so the roots can easily penetrate into the ground around the hole.
Add compost to the soil you are returning to the ground at the rate of one part compost to three parts soil.
Loosen the roots and set the dwarf Alberta spruce tree in the hole. Throw some of the composted soil in around the circumference of the root ball. Tamp it lightly with your hands. Add more composted soil and tamp it lightly. Continue until you fill the hole.
Place mulch 2 to 4 inches deep around the dwarf spruce. Allow a 2 to 4 inch gap between the tree's trunk and the mulch.
Water the dwarf spruce with a soaker hose during its first growing season. Add enough water to soak to the bottom of the root ball. If you get periodic, soaking rains, you may omit this step. After the first growing season, the tree doesn't need a lot of watering except in periods of prolonged drought.
Tips & Warnings
- The Latin name for dwarf Alberta spruce is Picea glauca 'Conica.'
- Spider mites sometimes create problems for dwarf spruce. If you see signs of an infestation during June and July, spray with an appropriate insecticide.
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