Planting A Dwarf Blue Spruce

Q: We have wooden boxes, approximately 3’x3′, that we’re thinking of planting with dwarf blue spruce. 

A: I know blue spruce doesn’t do well in Atlanta, but I wasn’t sure about north Georgia. So I called my friend Eddie Ayers, the UGA extension agent in Gilmer and Fannin counties. He says he never sees blue spruce prosper more than ten years in your part of the state. But there is nothing wrong with using them in your containers as long as you keep this in mind. In my observation, the two things that limit the lifespan of spruce trees are roots that stay soggy after a rain and summertime heat. Use a good quality planting soil in the containers and make sure they each have several drain holes. Site the boxes where they get sunshine until noon but are in shade thereafter. Use a slow-release organic fertilizer once each spring but never something as strong as 10-10-10.