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Spruce Solutions

Large established spruce trees are noticable everywhere on Calgary front and back yards.  These trees are typically Colorado Blue spruce and can grow to be 30-40 feet tall and take up the majority of your yard.  We are constantly asked about ways to manage spruce trees and keep them as part of the landscape.  

Firstly, it is never a good idea to have your lawn area compete with spruce trees.  The spruce tree will always win.  They are known to be very hard on lawns for several reasons.  

- They drop needles and shed them constantly throughout spring, summer and fall.  These needles can break down and change the quality of the soil.  

- Spruce tree roots are very shallow and extend for a great distance to other areas of your yard.  The roots draw moisture out of the soil and deprive your lawn of water and nutrients.  

- The large spruce tree branches shade preven sunlight and water from reaching your lawn.

So, we can see that having lawn under or close to your spruce tree is probably not going to facilitate a lush healthy lawn.  If you want to keep your lawn then we recommend pruning the branches up on the bottome 3-5 feet of the spruce tree.  This will give your lawn more sunlight and moisture.  

The best option when it comes to spruce trees is to create a defined border around the perimiter of the spruce trees drip line.  The drip line is the tip of the longest spruce tree branches.  Create this border by using a natural spade edge, mowing pavers, Vinyl edge or raised pre cast or natural stone.  This border will mean your lawn and gardens will not have to compete with the spruce tree and you won't have to mow around the branches. The messy needles and waste can be cleaned up without trying to rake them out of the lawn.  You can place fabric and 40mm rock under the spruce tree and use a blower to blow out needles and waste each season.   Keep in mind that over the long term, the roots may grow and lift some areas of your border.  The border can be adjusted and levelled again by notching out a section of the root.

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