Planting a Colorado blue spruce near a driveway and sidewalk?
June 27, 2011 4:54 PM   Subscribe

How far away (minimum) from my driveway and sidewalk should I plant a Colorado blue spruce, in order to make sure that its roots won't eventually wreak havoc with them?

I've seen far too many trees pushing up sidewalks and driveways. I want to avoid this, but I do want the tree (vaguely) in an area that is near my driveway and sidewalk, so I'd like to know about how close I can safely get.
posted by Flunkie to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Oh, and, uh, I'd also like that the boughs won't eventually go into the driveway or sidewalk.
posted by Flunkie at 4:55 PM on June 27, 2011

Best answer: The Arbor Day Foundation says that a Colorado blue spruce, in landscape, will grow to 50 to 75 feet in height, with a spread of 10 to 20 feet. This is a pretty big range for planning purposes, but covers a lot of variation in quality of landscape, such as altitude, zone, soil, drainage, etc. If every factor of your landscape is near perfect for the tree at your site, and you won't prune for shape, etc. expect a final growth size near the maximum, otherwise plan smaller, accordingly. General advice for planning for tree roots is that the largest, longest surface roots won't much exceed the natural span of the tree; so, in this case, 15 to 20 feet diameter span, or 8 to 10 foot set back from your drive would be plenty. If you'll be pruning heavily, or have sub-optimal landscape, or are willing to trim back surface roots, the necessary set back could be as little as 5 or 6 feet.
posted by paulsc at 5:12 PM on June 27, 2011

I tend to stick with 10 feet. It has worked well for most pines and hardwoods that I have planted. If you have a slow grower like a Ginko, you can go closer than with a fast grower like a blue spruce. For your pine trees, I would definitely stick with 10-15 feet depending upon the yard andnhow everything lines up.
posted by Nackt at 5:19 PM on June 27, 2011

Response by poster: Thank you!
posted by Flunkie at 5:24 PM on June 27, 2011

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