Picea orientalis 'Skylands'
Description: An elegant and underused spruce which has many fine qualities that make it ideal for the modern landscape. Hailing from Caucasia and Turkey, this tree is hardy to zone 4, unattractive to deer and other pests, and grows at a moderate rate to 50 or 60’ tall. Its width can be as much as 20 feet, but selections and cultivars offer moderate size and vibrant color.
One of the most remarkable conifers in the winter season is Picea orientalis ‘Skylands’, a slow-growing, yellow-needled form named after the famed New Jersey Botanical Garden known as “Skylands”. The yellow needles glow year round but truly stand out in the winter months. Severe, wind-whipped winters can cause the upper surface of the needles that are exposed to full sun to burn a bit in the late winter, so site it out of the winter winds.
The cultivar ‘Gowdy’ develops a particularly narrow form and can be seen in the Secret Garden at Tower Hill. Look also for other dwarf cultivars such as ‘Shadow’s Broom’, ‘Nana’, ‘Weeping Dwarf’ (Pendula), and ‘Tom Thumb’.
- Type/habit: Tree
- Key season and features of interest: Year round – evergreen foliage, elegant stature
- Flowering period: Spring
- Evergreen or deciduous: Evergreen
- Native? No
- Pollinator plant: N/A
- Wildlife benefits: Attracts birds and small mammals
- Site/Condition tolerance: Clay, rocky and poor soils; partial shade
- Sun/Shade preference: Full sun with wind protection
- Soil condition preference: Fertile, moist, well-drained soil
- Low maintenance; pest and disease resistant; deer resistant
Growth Habit: Dense and compact with narrow, pyramidal form
Size (mature height and spread): 50-60’ tall by 10-15’ wide
Hardiness (USDA Zones): 4-7
Nativity: Caucasus, Asia Minor
Suggested Uses: Specimen, accent, screen
Year of award: 2011