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

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Friday - July 04, 2008

From: Westminster, CO
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Trees
Title: Columnar evergreen for Colorado
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am looking for an evergreen 6-8 (or more) feet tall, very columnar; 3 feet spread in diameter, zone 5, full sun, dark green, clayish-OK soil. Thank you so much!

ANSWER:

Here are some suggestions for conical evergreens that are native to Colorado:

Abies concolor (white fir or Colorado fir) is "symetrically conical in yourh", but becomes more irregular as it grows taller. It's maximum height can be as much as 100 feet but is, in general, slow-growing. it doesn't do well in heavy clay soils, but adapts well to other soils. There are various dwarf and other cultivars.

Juniperus scopulorum (Rocky Mountain juniper) is described as being "columnar to somewhat rounded" and its maximu height is 30-40 feet with a spread of 3-15 feet. There are cultivars (e.g., 'Blue Trail','Gray Gleam', 'Medora', 'Pathfinder', 'Skyrocket') that have a more columnar growth.

Picea pungens (blue spruce) is "naturally conical in shape...grows from 50-100 ft, but it is usually shorter in cultivation." There are several cultivars.

Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas-fir) is columnar or conical. It "grows from 15-150 ft. tall depending on the environment." There are various cultivars.

You can see more native Colorado trees by doing a Combination Search in our Native Plant Database and selecting 'Colorado' from Select State or Province and 'Tree' from Habit (general appearance). There are other characteristics, as well, that you can use to narrow your search.


Abies concolor

Juniperus scopulorum

Picea pungens

Pseudotsuga menziesii

 

 

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