Colorado Blue Spruce: Three Different Looks - Same Great Blue

Hoops Blue Spruce, Picea pungens ‘Hoopsii’
Kevin Next To Hoops Blue Spruce

The Colorado Spruce group has a lot of varieties with different shapes and colors including, blues & greens, pyramids & globes. As well other shapes like weeping, sprawling and irregular mounds.

Lets take a look at three wonderful blue spruce with different looks:

  • Hoops Blue Spruce
  • Montgomery Blue Spruce
  • Dwarf Globe Blue Spruce

Hoops Blue Spruce, Picea pungens ‘Hoopsii’

Hoops has bright blue silvery blue needles, with a mature height of 25’ H x 15’ W. It is hardy to Zone 2, and does best in full sun.

Over-planting in our gardens and landscapes can be a common problem, especially for plant lovers. We must have one of everything! But eventually competition for sun and space has to be dealt with when planted too close.

The video below shows how we tackle the project of pruning the lower branches of a Hoops Spruce, to allow more space for the near by Amber Gold Arborvitae, as well as opening  up space for existing perennials, and a new planting of, well, I’m sure I’ll find something 😊. 

Normally, I am a big advocate of letting plants develop into their natural shape and form so I’ve been putting off this project for a while now. There’s  only one way to find out if we’ll like the new look and that is to just do it (I also needed some content for a YouTube video so it was a win win).

The middle photo below shows the result of pruning up the branches. What do you think? This was a quick project as the smaller spruce branches have a soft wood and are easy to cut. Talk about a whole new look!

Montgomery Blue Spruce, Picea pungens ‘Montgomery’

The Montgomery is often found sold as more of a globe shaped spruce but will revert to a pyramidal form over time. Our Montgomery has hit a point where annual shearing will now be necessary in order to keep it at this size This is a relatively easy project, as long as you have sharp shears. In the video, you’ll notice I prefer to use manual shears on nearly everything I prune. I’ll use automated shears on deciduous hedges, arborvitaes and junipers, but only if I am taking off an inch or two. The Colorado Spruce tips are a little bit too coarse for an automated tool, so manual shears work perfectly. My goto shears is the Baco Hedge Shears. It has an incrediblly hard steal so stays sharp a long time and is built for professional use. It’s the only brand I’ve used for over 30 years now.

The Montgomery Spruce is a true dwarf form of Colorado Spruce and forms a broad cone as it matures, like you see here. It has striking blue color year round and therefore is a great contrast in the landscape. It’s mature height is about 8’ wide by 6’ wide and like all the blue spruce, hardy as heck, to Zone 2.

Globe Blue Spruce, Picea pungens ‘Globosa’

As this spruce ages it becomes almost impossible to tell it apart from the Montgomery as it will also revert (or at least try) to a pyramidal form. I prune out leaders that attempt to “make a run for it” and have kept this specimen here distinctly globe. Mature size is listed as 8’H x 6’ W but mine is easily over 10 feet wide now. Like the other spruce highlighted here, it is hardy to Zone 2, and prefers full sun. 

In my area of the northern Great Plains, we are not seeing disease problems (yet) since we are in an arid area. But in more humid regions, cytospera canker and rhizosphera needle casts are problematic fungal diseases. A quick video on cytospera canker can be found here.

Colorado Blue Spruce are so unique and offer such a beautiful contrast in the landscape. Our gardens would not be the same without them. 

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