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Tree Campus: Colorado Blue Spruce

Tree Campus SCC is a multi-year and interdisciplinary college initiative to document, map, and celebrate the incredible diversity of trees planted on the campus. With over 200 species, Shoreline Community College is an arboreal paradise that deserves to b


Colorado Blue Spruce

Picea pungens var. glauca (PINACEAE)



Western Canada through Rocky Mountains to New Mexico



"Blue spruce provides cover for a variety of bird and animal species . Big game forage is good throughout blue spruce habitat types in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. Numerous birds eat blue spruce seeds. Blue spruce cones are cached by red squirrels in Utah.

In a mixed-conifer forest in the White Mountains of Arizona, nongame birds moderately preferred blue spruce for cover and gleening for insects. In a comparison of usage in logged and control areas, mountain chickadee and ruby-crowned kinglet preferred blue spruce in unlogged areas only; yellow-rumped warbler preferred it in both treatment areas; and gray-headed junco preferred blue spruce in logged areas only.

Blue spruce provides good environmental protection for elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, small mammals, and small nongame and upland game birds in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. It gives poor cover for pronghorn in Colorado and Wyoming, and fair to poor cover for waterfowl in Utah and Wyoming." [1]


Equity: Cultural and Historical Significance

"Blue spruce is planted extensively as an ornamental in North America and Europe. Blue spruce are used as Christmas trees. It is the state tree of Colorado and Utah." [1]



"Blue spruce is not an important timber tree because it occurs infrequently, and the wood is brittle with many knots. The wood is light, soft with numerous resin canals, close-grained, and weak . When it is harvested, it is often cut and marketed with Engelmann spruce.

Blue spruce has been included in roadside reclamation on U.S. Highway 89 south of Afton, Wyoming. One year after grasses had been planted, container-grown blue spruce were planted. Data on establishment success were not given.

Blue spruce was chosen as one of several species to provide cover and foraging area for wildlife. This reclamation planting mediated habitat loss due to increased water levels in Rufus Woods Lake, Washington. No data on establishment success were given.

Blue spruce was planted in Canada as a part of shelterbelts to prevent wind erosion." [1]




[1] Pavek, Diane S. 1993. Picea pungens. In: Fire Effects Information System,. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available:

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