My husband and I dreamt of a mountain home, with a year round running creek and easy access to Denver. After a year of searching for that perfect place, we put an offer in on a property in December 2012. After five months of waiting we closed on the house and moved in a month later. We discovered that summer we had 27 dead or dying Cottonwood trees on our property and needed to have them removed because of the possible damage they could cause. Once they were removed, our property felt barren. We decided to invest in 8-10 foot trees to provide a sound barrier, a wind break, privacy and beauty to our landscape. Oh, did I mention that we figured we may not have 20 or 30 years to see the trees grow in all their glory so we decided to start big. This was the beginning of my passion for trees. We admired the many 30-40 foot Colorado Spruce trees on our property and knew that more would be a perfect fit. We thought our landscape would be more visually interesting if we chose a variety of trees. We chose 3 Fat Alberts, 8 Hoopsii Blue Spruce, 2 Canadian Chokecherry trees, 1 Spring Snow Crabapple tree and 3 large and 48 small Aspen trees.
I fell in love with the perfect “Christmas Tree”, the Colorado Blue Spruce, “Fat Albert” also known as Picea pungens. Not only is it a show stopper with rich blue-green coloring throughout the year, a perfect cone shape, but it is dense, sturdy, extremely hardy and makes a statement. This tree will survive the heat of the summer and the cold of the winter. It is native to the Rocky Mountain area, so it will tolerate poor quality soil. It provides winter interest, shelter for the birds, and a great backdrop for shrubs and perennials. The Fat Albert is highly resistant to most pests, deer, rabbits, air pollution and drought. It may fall prey to budworms, aphids and spider mites on occasion. These trees need full sun, a soil pH 5.5-7.0 and require wet soil if you want them to reach their full growth potential of 10-15 feet tall and 7-10 feet wide. The life span of a Colorado Blue Spruce can live beyond 150 years with little maintenance. All that is needed, is regular irrigation and unobstructed drainage. Note: plant any evergreen at least 30’ away from buildings to decrease fire risk.
This experience started out as a way to increase our property value by adding beauty and privacy to our home. Little did we know that the trees we planted would give us so much more. They have stimulated our spirit, given us many hours of joy, and enhance our relaxation. Somewhat miraculously by caring for them they reduce our stress from a fast paced life and, last but not least, they are good for the environment. Trees are simply amazing! I encourage you to plant a tree (or several) on Arbor Day. One question still remains for my husband and I; can we stop planting more trees?