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Johnston, Iowa

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Picea pungens 'Fat Albert'

Ever wanted a true blue spruce? Fat Albert is the answer. It was introduced by Iseli Nursery in Boring, Oregon. According to Iseli, it was found in a field with other spruce in 1978. This is called natural hybridization. Iseli than began to study and test the plant. They watched the plant's growth habits, hardiness, color, and strength. After a period of time it was determined that Fat Albert lived up to the standards needed to go into full production. To replicate the tree, it was grafted.

The next question is, why the name Fat Albert? Was it found by a man named Albert? Was it a tribute to somebody? No. It is from the popular cartoon, Fat Albert. Naming of plants is definitely not scientific! But it is a very unique name that is easily remember. So does Fat Albert get "fat"?

In a word, no. Fat Albert typically grows to 30-45' tall and 10-20' wide. In the Des Moines area it will grow approximately 12" per year. The ultimate size of the tree correlates with soil conditions and how the tree is maintained. Rich, well-drained soil, proper watering, and yearly fertilizer will yield a large, healthy tree. Hardiness of the Fat Albert is not a problem, as they will take temperature of 40-50 degrees below zero.

Fat Alberts are well known for their pyramid shape. Even at a young age they have a distinctive shape with a strong, straight leader. Since the trees are grafted, they will keep their deep blue color forever. Fat Alberts have many uses in any landscape. They can be excellent specimen plants (1 plant by itself) or in groups. They are excellent for groupings because they will have the same blue color. Natural spruce usually are not all the same color. For groupings, it is best to plant Fat Alberts at least 12' apart.

Miller Nursery has carried Fat Albert Spruce for a number of years. We have been very happy with their performance in the Des Moines area. They are available in a number of sizes. They come in sizes of 3-4', 4-5', and 5-6' in pots. We will have a limited number of balled and burlapped Fat Alberts which will are 6-7' tall. Please call for pricing. Fat Alberts are an excellent addition to any landscape.

References: Iseli Nursery, Inc. www.iselinursery.com

© Miller Nursery Inc. 2008