Sitka Spruce (Picea Sitchensis) and COLORADO BLUE SPRUCE

Sitka Spruce

Picea Sitchensis    

The Great Sitka can live up to 800 years, The Spring and summer time are the most active growing periods of the sitka spruce.

Plant in a deep clay pot (8”-10”) and place the tree in a cool lightly shaded area where it will stay moist. The Sitka likes a wet, cool climate, and thrives naturally in moist, well drained soils. 

Pot the tree in a well aerated soil, with high amounts of phosphorous, calcium, and magnesium with a thin layer of mulch. (PH 3.9 – 5.7) 

Soak the tree wet often, allowing a cycle of short dry periods.

Elevations of 1000 ft – 3000 ft 

Deep moist well aerated soils

PH 3.9 to 5.7 

Lives up to 700-800 years old 

Can reach 200ft Tall

Associated with hemlock

2 years for a seedling to go from a pot to a permanent ground location 

Planting in Pots

Although potting is generally not as good as planting directly in the ground, potting can work well if done right. If you choose to pot your trees, they will need the equivalent of an inch of rainfall per week, and the pot must have holes to allow for drainage. Covering the holes with a rag or sponge before filling will keep dirt from falling through the drain holes while still allowing proper drainage.

The other trick is keeping the pot dirt from heating up and cooling off too much. The pot should be white or very light in colour, or must be protected from direct sunlight. Lightly coloured mulch or woodchips on top of the pot dirt will also help to reflect sunlight and keep the pot cooler. A dark pot getting hit directly on the east or west side by sunlight in summer [or on the south side in the winter] will result in damage to the roots or with drawl of the roots from the side facing the sun [see photos]. In general, avoiding wild temperature fluctuations will result in a much healthier tree.


Spring planting is best done just after frost leaves the ground, the weather is still cool, and lots of Spring rain is expected. Planting during hot, dry weather may cause "transplant shock" [also known as "thermal shock"], so either avoid planting in hot, dry weather or make sure the trees get adequate water. Drip irrigation is optimal but not always feasible.  To plant your trees, work a flat spade back and forth at least a foot into the ground to create a trench, scooping out any dirt that falls into the bottom. Hold the tree by the trunk with one hand and gently push the bottoms of the roots into the very bottom of the trench with your other hand, and then pull the tree back up to ground level [if necessary] to prevent the roots from curling upwards and to get the tree at the right planting height. Once in the trench, pour a quart or more of water into the trench, allow the water to drain down a bit, and then push the trench shut with your boot. Optional: to improve watering and to help control weeds, create a circular berm around the tree and fill it with half an inch of bark or mulch. The berm will concentrate drip irrigation or a bucket of water around the roots, and the mulch will help prevent weeds.



When planting evergreen trees in the Fall, the trees experience less stress during the digging and shipping process because they've gone dormant in preparation for Winter...they don't need nearly as much water and sunlight during this dormancy as during the Spring and Summer months. Fall planting also gives the trees plenty of time to become acclimated to their new environment and for the dirt to properly settle around the roots. And finally, Fall planting gives the trees a headstart because they're already planted when the ground begins to thaw. Spring is obviously a fine and popular time to plant, but Fall certainly has its advantages.

Desiccation [freeze drying] is also a concern: young evergreens can dry out from low humidity and high winds during the winter. Again, seedlings are more susceptible to dessication than the bigger transplants. To prevent desiccation, keep the ground damp until frost sets in, and spread mulch or woodchips as an added moisture retainer. Deep snowfall also prevents desiccation, since it covers the young trees in a stabilizing winter blanket.


We don't recommend planting bareroot evergreen trees in the summer, which is why we don't sell bareroot trees during the summer. Most seedlings and transplants planted at this time of year will die quickly due to thermal shock and lack of adequate water from poorly established roots. However, plug seedlings are shipped in a bullet-shaped ball of dirt, so the roots are already established in their own little dirt ecosystem, and are ready to grow outwards into new dirt. This helps them avoid some of the problems of summer and fall planting, but they still need plenty of water throughout the heat of the first growing season.