Baby Blue Spruce combines two advantages, the first is the beautiful blue color of the needles, and the second is the compact size. Today you will learn all about this wonderful tree.
Baby Blue Spruce Care Tips
- Plant Baby Blue Spruce in a location with 6-8 hours of direct sun per day.
- Water it as soon as the soil dries out 1 inch in the first 2 years after planting.
- Use a slightly acidic (pH 6.0-6.8) and well-drained soil for growing.
- Provide good air exchange near the tree.
- Prune Baby Blue in spring or summer before the young branches mature.
- Place it 15 feet apart from other trees.
- Apply a multi-purpose fertilizer in the spring.
|Care/requirements||Baby Blue Spruce|
|Hardiness:||USDA zone 3-7|
|Size:||Height 25 ft. and Width 15 ft.|
|Light requirements:||6-8 hours of direct sun per day. Full sun or partial shade.|
|Soil:||Loam or amended soil.|
|Soil pH:||6.0-6.8 Grow best in slightly acidic soil.|
|Watering:||First 1-2 years after planting when the soil 1” dry.|
|Growth rate:||Medium (6-8 in. per year)|
|Best time for planting:||Early spring or early fall.|
|Spacing:||15 feet apart (center to center).|
|Transplanting:||Early fall or early spring.|
|Fertilizer:||Balanced NPK, slow-release.|
A place with a few hours of direct sunlight and drained soil is ideal for planting Baby Blue Spruce. Also, make sure that no water flows near the tree (e.g. rainwater from a gutter). Also, there should be a few feet of space around the tree for good air movement.
It is best to plant or transplant Baby Blue in March or April as soon as the soil has warmed up a bit. It is important that you plant this tree before the beginning of the growing season, in which case you can count on an almost 100 percent rooting rate. The second suitable period is the end of September.
Baby Blue Spruce should be planted at least 15 feet apart from other trees or buildings. If you plant it too close you might have problems with disease or needle color.
The planting hole should be at least twice the size of the spruce root ball. First fill it with partially prepared soil, which we will talk about later. Then place the tree so that the place where the trunk meets the roots is not submerged in the soil. After planting, water the spruce with plenty of water.
Baby Blue Spruce needs at least 5-6 hours of direct sunlight a day. In this case, you will get a tree with a dense crown and blue needles. This spruce can be planted so that it receives either morning or afternoon sun.
Also Baby Blue can easily tolerate full sun. It can get direct sunlight all day long and nothing bad will happen to it. Moreover, in the full sun its needles will be even bluer.
Placing Baby Blue in full shade is contraindicated to it. Even dappled sun is not suitable for this tree. If it does not have access to the direct sun the crown will not be lush and the needles will be greenish. After a few years spent in the shade, the spruce will die.
Baby Blue Spruce tolerates a wide range of soils, the best is a well-drained but not too sandy soil. If you have clay soil, add organic matter to the planting hole to lighten the substrate a bit. For sandy soil, the addition of organic matter is also positive as it will make the soil slightly moist and you will not have to water the spruce too often.
If you have loamy soil you do not need to add anything to the soil. It can be considered a perfect substrate for spruce. All you have to do is fertilize, but more about that below.
As for soil acidity, Baby Blue Spruce likes soil pH 6.0-6.8. This tree grows well in neutral or slightly acidic soil. It can also tolerate highly acidic and alkaline soil, but in this case, the growth will not be as energetic as it could be.
Water Baby Blue Spruce as soon as the soil dries out 1 inch. Such watering is necessary before the tree is fully rooted. The rooting process can take one to two years. If the year after planting, the spruce has made good growth, you can consider it rooted.
Fully rooted spruce does not need watering at all. Exceptions are periods of extreme drought.
The amount of water should be at least 1-2 gallons. Water should reach all the roots of the tree. You can water in two stages, first soaking the top layer and then watering again to soak up the water to the maximum depth.
Avoid watering too often as Baby Blue Spruce can get root rot. Constantly wet soil will cause the roots to become soft and begin to rot. It is almost impossible to treat root rot in spruce.
Baby Blue Spruce is semi-dwarf spruce so it does not need pruning. But if you want to make it even more compact, you can trim it. The best time for pruning is in the second half of spring or early summer. You will need to cut before the young shoots mature, so cut them halfway down. This will give you a thicker crown next year.
Sanitary pruning can be done in fall or early spring. Removing dead branches is good practice from a plant health standpoint.
Always use sterile tools, sharpening them beforehand. After pruning, it is a good idea to spray the spruce with a fungicide to prevent fungal infestations.
One of the reasons why Baby Blue Spruce dies is root rot. The symptoms of this disease are the needles turning brown and then falling off. To correct this, remove all excess water near the spruce (frequent watering, high groundwater, etc.). There is nothing else you can do, if the tree is strong it will beat the disease on its own.
One of the most common problems with Baby Blue Spruce is a fungal disease. This is especially true in an area with high humidity. Symptoms of fungal disease are black spots on the needles, as well as yellowing and falling off.
To cure the disease, make sure there is good air exchange around the spruce. Clean all dead needles and branches. Spray the spruce with an aqueous solution of copper-based fungicide. Repeat the spraying in a few weeks.
A multi-purpose balanced fertilizer is best for Baby Blue Spruce. Make sure the fertilizer is made into slow-release pellets. Apply it once a year in early spring before the buds begin to push. That’s it, now the tree has everything it needs for the whole season.
Avoid frequent applications as this can damage the root system. In this case, the needles will turn brown. Also, do not fertilize spruce for the winter as this can cause the tree to grow and frost will damage the young branches.
Another thing you can do is to mulch your spruce with compost. Compost is a good organic fertilizer that protects the roots from overheating and rapid soil drying. Make sure the layer of compost is no more than 2 inches thick and there is at least a 1-inch gap between the trunk and the mulch.
Baby Blue Spruce vs Baby Blue Eyes Spruce
The main difference between Baby Blue Spruce and Baby Blue Eyes Spruce is size. Baby Blue Spruce at maturity can reach over 20 feet tall and 15 feet wide. Baby Blue Eyes Spruce, on the other hand, usually does not grow taller than 6 feet and 3 feet wide. If you are looking for dwarf spruce then Baby Blue Eyes Spruce is the best choice.
Also, the Baby Blue Eyes Spruce has shorter branch lengths but more branches than its competitor. As a result, this spruce looks more interesting and patterned.
The disadvantage of the thicker crown of the Baby Blue Eyes Spruce is a bit more susceptible to fungal diseases. You will have to clean the middle of the spruce of dead needles once a year and spray it with fungicide.
Baby Blue Spruce vs Colorado Blue Spruce
Baby Blue Spruce differs from Colorado Blue Spruce in height and width. Colorado Blue Spruce can reach up to 50 feet tall and 20 wide, while Baby Blue is only 25 feet tall and 15 wide. Colorado Blue Spruce is a full-sized tree that needs a lot of space, while Baby Blue can be grown in a relatively small area.
The second difference is that Colorado Blue Spruce is not always blue, some trees of this genus can be greenish-blue, greenish-gray, or even just green. Baby Blue Spruce, on the other hand, is a selected variety that is mainly propagated by grafting, as a result, all specimens of this variety have blue needles.
Hoopsii Blue Spruce vs Baby Blue Spruce
Hoopsii Blue Spruce, unlike Baby Blue Spruce, is a larger tree and can grow up to 35 feet tall and 18 wide. Baby Blue Spruce is more compact and grows 20 feet tall and 15 wide. Hoopsii is by no means dwarf spruce, and Baby Blue Spruce is considered as semi-dwarf.
Also, Baby Blue Spruce is more of a pyramidal shape, while Hoopsii is slightly narrower and has a conical shape.
The second small difference is that Hoopsii needles are more intense blue if there is enough direct sunlight. Baby Blue Spruce has a less bright blue shade of needles.