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Tree Campus: Montgomery 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


Montgomery Blue Spruce

Picea pungens ‘Montgomery’ (PINACEAE)



BC to Southwest USA



"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 is not a highly preferred food for either wildlife or domestic animals. Deer browse blue spruce infrequently. In mixed-conifer forests, blue spruce is the least desired browse species by elk and deer. White-tailed deer in Conneticut browsed ornamental blue spruce an average of 0.5 percent throughout the summer . Blue spruce can be used an an index of mule deer population size; young blue spruce are severely damaged by browsing during times of overpopulation.

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.

Blue spruce was one of several species in a commercial conifer nursery used by white-tailed and mule deer for hiding and thermal cover during a severe winter in southeastern Wyoming. Moose use blue spruce for shelter. In Wyoming, moose used the blue spruce climax association an average of 5 percent over 4 years. Where blue spruce occurred in a ponderosa pine forest in Colorado, cavity nesting birds showed no preference in tree species selection for nest sites. Mixed-conifer forests of Arizona and New Mexico that blue spruce occur in are valuable summer habitat for game and nongame animals and birds .

Sensitive and endangered species use mixed-conifer stands in which blue spruce occurs. Such species include flammulated owls in Colorado, Jemez Mountain salamander of New Mexico, and northern goshawks in Arizona . Bald eagle breeding areas at intermediate elevation in Wyoming are dominated by blue spruce and narrowleaf cottonwood. In the Snake River Unit, 28 percent of the nests were in blue spruce trees." [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." [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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