En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Thursday - August 30, 2012

From: Pingree Grove, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Transplants, Trees
Title: Transplanting a blue spruce from Pingee Grove IL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Transplant 18" Blue spruce from 5 gal. bucket to ground.

ANSWER:

We are sorry-is this a question or are you giving us an order? Since Mr. Smarty Plants is a team of volunteers answering native plant questions from our computers, we are pretty sure you are not expecting us to show up with shovels. So, we'll go with "Please give me instructions for transplanting an 18" blue spruce from a 5 gallon bucket into the ground in northeastern Illinois, USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 5b, with annual average minimum temperatures of -15 to -10 deg. F."

The first thing we need to know is what is Picea pungens (Blue spruce) doing in Illinois? If you follow the plant link to our webpage on this plant, you will learn its  normal native distribution:

Distribution

USA: AZ , CO , ID , MA , MD , ME , NM , NY , PA , UT , WY
Native Distribution: Mts. of w. WY & e. ID, s. to AZ & NM
Native Habitat: Mountain conifer forests

For confirmation of this, here is the USDA Plant Profile map on this tree. We found this USDA Forest Service article on the tree, which says it will grow at Zones 2 to 7a, so the cold in the environment is not a problem. It also says that while it likes a moist, acidic soil, it can also tolerate other soils. One aspect of the tree that we discovered in that article is that it generally grows at higher altitudes, like about 6750 ft. We could not ascertain the altitude of Kane County, IL.

Now all of this is not to say you can't grow it there. We just wanted to give you some lines of inquiry before you go to all that trouble, since we won't be bringing our shovels. From the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, here is an article on Growing Conifers, which includes planting information. From the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, here is information from our Step by Step Guides on Transplanting a Tree.

 

From the Image Gallery


Blue spruce
Picea pungens

More Transplants Questions

Viability of Texas Mountain Laurel in Louisiana
March 19, 2008 - I just returned from a visit to Austin and I saw the Texas Mountain Laurel everywhere. I live in the Baton Rouge, LA area and would like to know if performing some soil amendments would allow me to gr...
view the full question and answer

Disappearance of leaves on desert willow in Tucson AZ
August 08, 2009 - We have a Lois Adams Desert Willow (Tucson, Az). The leaves will pump out and then a day or so later, all of the leaves are gone. The only bugs we've seen on it are very, very small ants. Could this ...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of one Desert Willow in Phoenix AZ
September 06, 2013 - We planted 4 desert willow trees in the summer and 3 of the 4 are doing excellent, however the last one is not not doing so well, it was the smallest of all and it started out fine but its leaves bega...
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in Liatris spicata
May 25, 2008 - I bought a liatris spicata start a month ago, and transplanted it into my front yard (full sun, clay soil, moist due to all the rain recently). The plant immediately wilted so I transplanted it in ...
view the full question and answer

Planting dogwood in Baytown TX
April 23, 2010 - I live in Baytown Texas and was wondering if this would be a good area to plant a dogwood tree?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center