Spruce, Engelmann

Picea engelmannii

Pinaceae - Pine Family

Description

Leaves: Needles borne singly; about 1" long; evergreen; blue-green to dark green; 4-angled; not as sharp pointed as blue spruce; tend to be crowded on around upper side of twig; fragrant when crushed.

Twigs/buds: Leaves attached with a short stalk that remains part of the twig, so twig rough; young twigs with minute hairs.  Buds with scales that lie fairly flat.

Flowers/fruit: Monoecious.  Fruit a papery cone that hangs down; about 1" to 2-1/2" long; light chestnut-brown; papery scales are slightly round-toothed at tip.

Bark: Red to purple-brown; made-up of thin scales; thinner than blue spruce.

Wood: Moderate importance; heartwood not distinct; nearly white to light brown; growth rings distinct; used for lumber, poles, ties, and fuel.

General: Native throughout the Rocky Mountains and parts of the Pacific Northwest and western Canada.  Slow growing.  Likes cool, moist sites and good soil.  Wind-throw (trees being blown over) is a problem if the site is disturbed.  Shade tolerant.

Landscape Use: Rarely used, though some mountain homes are built in Engelmann spruce stands.  Probably would not do well at lower, warmer, drier locations.  Blue spruce is more available and has good cultivars.  Zones 2-5.

Cultivars: 'Argentea', 'Glauca'.

Characteristics

General

Pinaceae - Pine
Family:
No
Cultivar Availability:
2 - 5
Hardiness Zone:
Conifer
Type:
Yes
Utah Native:

Growth

Low
Growth Rate:
High
Mature Height:
High
Longevity:
No
Power Lines:
Pyramidal
Crown Shape:

Ornamental

No
Bark:
No
Fall Color:
No
Flowers:
Yes
Foliage:
No
Fruit:

Tolerance of...

High
Shade:
Medium
Salt:
Medium
Drought:
Low
Poor Drainage:
Medium
Alkalinity:
Medium
Transplanting:
x

Family

A group of closely related species and genera; scientific name ends in 'aceae'.

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Cultivar Availability

Cultivar Availability means that selected, genetically pure trees are available with known characteristics. Cultivars often prove to be more desirable than trees grown from seed or collected in the wild.

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USDA Hardiness Zone

Pick a hardiness zone to show which trees are suitable.

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Tree Type

Select Conifer for pines, firs, junipers, ginkgo, and other conifers (gymnosperms). Select Broadleaf for trees with broad, flat leaves (more or less) (angiosperms).

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Utah Native

Utah Native

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Growth Rate

Growth rate refers to height growth for the first ten years after a tree is planted. Select Low for less than 12-inches/year height growth. Select Low-Medium for low or medium growth rate. Select Medium for 12- to 24-inches/year height growth. Select Medium-High for medium or high growth rate. Select High for more than 24-inches/year height growth.

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Mature Height

Mature height will vary considerably by cultivar and site and is shown here assuming adequate care. Select Low for less than 20 feet mature height. Select Low-Medium for low or medium mature height. Select Medium for 20 to 40 feet mature height. Select Medium-High for medium or high mature height. Select High for more than 40 feet mature height.

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Longevity

The typical life span of a good tree in a suburban neighborhood is 30 to 50 years, while downtown trees may only last 5 to 10 years. People tend to plant fast-growing trees that often have fairly short lives. While some of this is all right, homeowners and communities should also plant trees that might grow slower (though some grow quite fast) but that are longer-lived. Select Low for less than 25 years typical life span. Select Medium for 25 to 50 years typical life span. Select High for more than 50 years typical life span.

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Powerline Suitability

Only very short trees should be planted under or directly adjacent to overhead electric lines. Medium height trees should be offset 15 to 20 feet horizontally from electric lines. Large trees should be offset 30 feet. Wider crowned trees like elms or maples should be offset more than narrower crowned trees like spruces or firs. If you suspect that you are planting in an area with underground electric lines or other buried utilities, call Blue Stakes at 1-800-662-4111 to have utilities located and marked. 'Yes' in this database means a tree is suitable for planting directly under powerlines. 'No' means it is not.

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Crown Shapes

Crown shape varies considerably by cultivar and sometimes by site. The common crown shape for a species is shown as follows: Pyramidal, Round, Columnar, Weeping, Broad, Oval, Vase, Layered, Shrubby, and Irregular.

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Ornamental Features

Ornamental characteristics are important factors in tree selection even though they usually have little to do with whether a tree can survive and thrive on its site. Ornamental factors to consider include flower and fruit presence and appearance, foliage color and texture, bark characteristics, shade density, fall color, and winter appearance. Some trees have thorns or spines, objectionable odors, a tendency to have basal or root sprouts, or maintenance-related needs that also should be considered. 'Yes' in this database means that a species is noted for a particular ornamental feature; 'No' means it is not, though there may be exceptions depending on cultivar.

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Tolerance of Shade

Shade tolerant plants often are best planted in at least partial shade, though many will do well in full sun. Shade intolerant plants usually need full sun to thrive.

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Tolerance of Salt

Generally means tolerance to salt on above ground plant surfaces, though may indicate some tolerance to soil salinity.

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Tolerance of Drought

Indicates the tree's tolerance of low soil moisture, heat and/or low humidity.

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Tolerance of Poor Drainage

Indicates the tree's tolerance to waterlogging, compaction, or otherwise poorly oxygenated soil.

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Tolerance of Alkalinity

Indicates the tree's tolerance of high soil pH or soil alkalinity; soil pH above 6.5 or 7.

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Ease of Transplanting

This describes a tree's relative likelihood of transplanting success. A low ranking indicates a plant that may need extra care at planting and may do better if transplanted while fairly small. Select Low for low transplanting difficulty. Select Medium for medium transplanting difficulty. Select High for high transplanting difficulty.

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