The blue spruce is a unique tree because in addition to the beautiful and succulent needles it has a sky blue color. Such a combination is rare even for conifers.
To make the Blue Spruce grow faster, give it at least 8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Fertilize it with multipurpose fertilizer once a year and mulch the root zone with compost. Also, water Blue Spruce in dry weather and keep it healthy.
Provide plenty of sunlight
To achieve the maximum growth rate of the Blue Spruce, you need to provide it with as much sunlight as possible. It is a sun-loving tree and can tolerate any number of hours of sunlight.
However, it is not always possible to get all the light because buildings, trees, and other objects create shade. But this is not a problem until the Blue Spruce gets at least 8 hours of direct light a day. In this case, you can still count on fast growth.
If your spruce gets less than 8 hours of direct light then you shouldn’t expect a fast growth rate. To remedy the situation, you need to make room around the tree at least 10 feet away. Remove or replant trees that grow too close to the blue spruce.
With plenty of sunlight, you will achieve not only a fast growth rate but also a large number of branches. The crown of the spruce will be thicker and the needles more blue. The tree will also be much healthier.
Fertilize Blue spruce
The next thing to do is to provide the tree with enough nutrients. In general, Blue Spruce can grow well without fertilizer, but if you want great results you need to apply additional fertilizer.
The first thing to do is apply a slow-release granular fertilizer. These are usually made with a little more nitrogen than phosphorus and potassium. This combination works well for Blue Spruce, but make sure the product contains magnesium and iron.
The granular fertilizer should be applied once a year in early spring. The next application should be after 12 months. Stick to the amount of fertilizer recommended by the manufacturer on the label.
Avoid using the fertilizer too often (more than once a year) because this makes the spruce susceptible to diseases. Also, do not fertilize later than midsummer as this can cause new shoots to grow which may die during the winter. For more information check Should I fertilize my Blue spruce tree?
The second type of fertilizer is organic. You will learn more about this in the chapter on mulching.
Water with enough water
Watering is also an important part of the vigorous growth of the tree. If there is not enough water, the tree will go into dormancy from drought and any rapid growth is out of the question.
You have to watch the soil in the root zone of the spruce. If the soil is more than 2 inches dry then water the spruce with 1-2 gallons of water. Larger trees will need more water. It is best to use a drip hose to slowly saturate the soil with water.
This is a recommendation you should follow for 1 to 3 years after planting. Once the tree takes root it will be able to get water on its own. The only exception will be extreme drought. In that case, watering is also necessary.
However, you should avoid over-watering as this can lead to stunted growth of the spruce or even its death. Do not water the spruce until the soil is about 2 inches dry and do not use too much water.
Mulch with organic material
Mulch has some advantages that will make the spruce grow much more vigorously. The main requirement is that the mulching material should be of organic origin.
The advantage of mulch is that the soil dries out slowly. Also, the soil heats up less in the summer heat and the tree is more comfortable at this time. It is much harder for weeds to germinate through a layer of mulch and it will make garden maintenance much easier for you.
Pine bark, wood chips, or compost work very well. However, compost also has nutrients, so it is an excellent organic fertilizer. Only use quality compost from a supplier that has positive reviews.
The layer of mulch should be about 2-3 inches thick. Spread the mulch around the tree a little wider than the crown of the spruce.
Do not put mulch on the trunk of the tree or it may have negative consequences. There should be a gap of about 1-2 inches between the trunk and the mulch.
Depending on the material, mulch needs to be renewed once every 1 to 3 years. Be sure to change the mulch to get good results.
Keep the Blue spruce healthy
Diseases, especially fungal diseases, can greatly stunt Blue Spruce growth. In some cases, the spruce can become very badly affected or even die.
Fungal diseases usually show themselves as small black spots on the needles. It is also possible for the needles to turn brown.
To avoid this, constantly check the needles for symptoms of the disease, especially young growth. If you see the disease, spray the spruce immediately with copper fungicide. You can read more about this here Why is my colorado blue spruce turning brown?
The same applies to pests. For example, mites can stop young blue spruce from growing at all. So you have to watch for pests on your spruce at regular intervals.
As soon as you see an insect colony, spray the spruce with an aqueous solution of neem oil. But in general, it is a good idea to spray the spruce with fungicide and insecticide for prevention every year in early summer.
Do not transplant
Replanting is always hard on the growth of any tree. If you transplant a Blue Spruce, it will slow its growth for several years. Moreover, improper transplanting can kill the tree.
So you need to determine the right place to plant it from the start. There should be at least 10 feet of space from the trunk of the tree in all directions. In this way, the tree will get enough light and room to grow at a fast pace.
If you make the mistake of planting the spruce in a limited space, it needs to be replanted. Do this only in early spring and take care not to damage the root system. You will also have to accept the fact that it will grow very slowly for 2-3 years after transplanting.