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Fat Albert Spruce Striking Teal Color Needle Like Leaves

The Fat Albert Spruce is a great accent tree for a variety of landscapes and garden settings. This specie is also known as Royal Blue or Picea pungens.

It grows well in zones three through eight in the United States. The Fat Albert thrives in full sun but can survive in a few hours of shade. This specie will mature ten to fifteen feet high, and eight to twelve feet wide.It is considered a moderately slow grower, and likes well drained soil. Once the tree is established, it is a low maintenance specimen.

New Growth On The Fat Albert Fat Albert By Rocks Picea Pungen With Taller Trees Colorful Shrubs In Background

Question From Debra,

One of my spruce trees is dying (yellow/brown branches and leaves) on the outside and inside, do I pull it or can it be salvaged?

Herbee's Answer

Hi Debra,
Thank you for asking the question on one of your trees. I am not sure where you are located. Many areas of the United Sates had an extremely cold and brutal winter. The southeastern United States had several trees and shrubs that died out due to the cold temperatures.

Yellow/brown leaves can be a sign of cold burn out. It would be a good idea at this time to do a Scratch Test if you haven't already. Take a small sharp knife and scratch the surface of a branch. If the branch is green inside, the tree is still alive. If it is brown, it could be from cold burn out, a fungus, or a disease.

I am not sure how old the trees are. It would be great if you could share some more information on the spruce trees. How old, your geographic location, and any other insights to help you in salvaging your tree. Thanks Debra, and look forward to hearing from you.

Question From Tom, West Jordan, Utah

Can I plant a Fat Albert in the summer? Is is now late June and I need to plant a Fat Albert Spruce. Will it be okay if I keep it well watered or should I wait unit fall to plant?

Morton, From New Zealand Answers

If its already potted up in a bag/pot you should be alright. Water in well and water as your conditions dictate. For me its middle of winter.

Herbee Answers Tom's Question

Hi Tom,
Thank you for asking the question. Morton, thank you for giving Tom some tips. Tom, you live in Utah, and yes in summertime the temperatures warm up. The recommendation is the best time to plant is in the spring and fall.

Here in the southeastern US, my crew and I did plant year around. The Fat Albert is a slow grower and needs open space to grow. If you have it in a container, as Morton mentioned, keep it watered throughout the summer months. Periodically look for roots coming out of the bottom of the container. If the roots are showing and coming through, the tree is getting root bound in the pot.

It would be best to keep it watered and wait until fall if you can. If you see that the Fat Albert needs to get out of the container, make sure your area where you plant the tree is properly prepared. Add some mushroom compost to the soil. Start with a slow drip watering around the base of the tree.

Keep an eye on the tree for signs of shock. Do the scratch test on a branch if you see signs. The bottom line is make a decision whether or not you feel the tree will survive for the summer best in its container or to provide the care and plant it in the ground?

Feel free to let us know what you decide, or if you have anymore questions. Thanks again Tom for asking the question, and thank you Morton for your response.

The needle like leaves are a teal color. In spring, new growth appears. The needle's appearance changes to a rich two tone teal and lime green. The Fat Albert is considered a dwarf in the large 30 to 40 member Spruce family.

They are native to Scandinavia, Canada, and the United States. Canada grows many of these varieties commercially. Some of the largest species of this family can mature up to 200 feet tall.

There are many trees and shrubs that will compliment the Fat Albert Spruce. Incorporating a few other evergreens in a straight row or staggered planting will create a colorful back drop or privacy area.

This Spruce specimen is cold hardy, which is one of the reasons it does so well in northern climates. The Dwarf Fat Albert is a great specimen for a smaller garden or landscape area.

If you can't find them in your area, you may be surprised to know that the Dwarf Fat Albert can be bought online from Amazon.

One of my favorite projects is to use the dwarf in a decorative pot. Plant the dwarf in the center, surround with perennial or annual flowers. Add a couple of flowing ivy plants. This makes a great accent for a porch, deck, or balcony.

Another Question From A Reader

Is it a problem that my Fat Albert Spruce has yellow needles in the center of the tree? It was planted this Spring of 2010.

Herbee Greenthumb's Recommendation
Many trees such as Spruce, Arborvitae and Cypress might get brown or yellow needles in the center. This could be from lack of water, too much water, and a variety of different temperatures.

Try doing a Scratch Test, as described above in the question from Debra. This will tell you if the tree is alive. If the branch is brown inside, the tree could be in some shock and stress. Take a look at your temperatures you have had over the summer and the amount of water your Fat Albert Spruce has received.

You may want to loosen the dirt around the Fat Albert and add some organic mushroom compost. This is a great natural fertilizer that will last up to one year. Also, make sure the tree is on a good watering schedule. Once the Fat Albert is established, nature should take over with the right elements to give you a healthy Fat Albert tree.

The Carolina Sapphire, Blue or Gray Owl Juniper, as well as the Blue Star Juniper will create a teal haven for your specific area. Accent your blue toned outdoor features such as stone, brick, or furniture with any of these plants.

You can also create a mass of color using the Fat Albert with some Loropetalums, Rheingold Arborvitaes, and some variegated Cypress. When doing a specific garden or landscape area, consider adding some colorful flowering shrubs to this colorful evergreen. Plant the flowering shrubs throughout the bed.

The Fat Albert Spruce is a sure winner in many different outdoor settings and will create a wonderful evergreen addition to your outdoor property.

Other Articles You Might Be Interested In.

Juniper Family --- Cypress Trees And Shrubs

Other Evergreens Besides Fat Albert Spruce

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