• Kelly Grummons

Struggling White Weeping Spruce

Q: I planted a beautiful white weeping spruce about on the west side of my garage in Denver in early May. It's struggling, maybe because it's too hot there? If I protect it while it's young (with shadecloth? or more mulch to cool the soil?) will it be ok once more established or is this just a bad location? Would fall be a good time to move it? I've been waiting since it's so hot.

A: I think the west side of the house should be comfortable for the white spruce. Virtually all conifers that you’ll find in garden centers have been grown in humid Oregon, usually potted in composted wood/bark. Imagine that they have been grown hydroponically in this neutral potting mix with much more humidity than we have. Adapting to our dry climate is quite a struggle for conifers. I would shade the plant and keep it moist. Getting overly dry just one time could spell doom for an Oregon-grown conifer. With shading, mulch, and careful watering we can hope for the best. Another possibility is that it was planted too deep. Even an inch of soil placed on top of the root ball could exclude enough oxygen to set the plant into a decline. Correct this if it is the case. If you do choose to move it, September or October would suitable, or again in March or April.


Kelly Grummons owns the mail-order businesses coldhardycactus.com and dogtuffgrass.com