‘Bush’s Lace’ Engelmann’s spruce – An Adornment for the Landscape
The Engelmann’s spruce (Picea engelmanii) is seldom planted and seen in the Midwest, although an example of this slender pyramidal evergreen tree, which is much more graceful than the widely planted Colorado spruce, can be seen and admired at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Native to the high altitudes of the Rocky Mountain and Pacific coast regions, including adjacent Canada, this ornamental tree is frequently used as a Christmas tree and is commonly grown in commercial Christmas tree lots.
Dick Bush, of Aurora, Oregon, noticed an Engelmann’s spruce growing in a tree lot that was different in shape, color and growth from the surrounding Engelmann’s spruce. The unusual tree was the result of a seed-variation. Never does a seed exactly reproduce its parent. Neither do any two seeds, even from the same fruit, ever produce plants exactly alike. This chance seeding, with its distinctive characteristics, had value for cultivation and became a horticultural variety when it was patented and named ‘Bush’s Lace’ Engelmann’s spruce.
This new horticultural variety has a narrowly conical outline and ascending branches that start at ground level. The branches are densely covered with blue-green to steel-blue colored needles that have a strong aromatic odor when bruised or crushed. ‘Bush’s Lace’ Engelmann’s spruce is an excellent tree for the home landscape and is known for its outstanding vigor. It is sought after by wildlife as it provides food in the form of cones for birds and small mammals.
Hardy to zone 3 ‘Bush’s Lace’ Engelmann’s spruce will grow in almost any kind of soil if there is good drainage and sufficient moisture.