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

Transplanting redbud from field in Edmond, OK
March 30, 2009 - I want to transplant a small redbud from a field to my yard. The trunk diam is about 1.5" and the tree is about 4' tall. What is the best way to do this? Should I plant it in a pot first?
view the full question and answer

Hummingbird plants and Indian Hawthorn
May 13, 2008 - I live in The Woodlands in a new section of homes. I planted some hummingbird plants in full sun and they did ok last year for 4 months, then lost all their leaves and died when the winter came. At ...
view the full question and answer

Optimum planting time for perennials and trees
November 02, 2007 - Our group is running out of fall workdays. Is it OK to plant native perennials and small trees in Central Texas during the winter months? Or should we wait now until the spring?
view the full question and answer

Dead woody plants in wildlife garden in Austin
March 02, 2011 - I am an enthusiastic and pretty successful wildlife gardener, have studied my Wasowski "Bible", but I can't get any evergreens established in my yard! We live on blackland clay, which I amend with ...
view the full question and answer

Optimal time to separate and transplant black-eyed Susan
May 26, 2007 - When is the optimal time to separate or transplant black eyed Susan. I have some in a planter on my patio, but it has multiplied and become too crowded for the pot; it needs water daily.
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