Picea orientalis 'Skylands'
YELLOW ORIENTAL SPRUCE
Pronounced: PIE-see-a or-ih-en-TAY-lis
Sunset zones: Not listed.
USDA zones: 5-8.
Heat zones: 8-5.
Height: 35 feet (11 m).
Width: 12 feet (2 m).
Three-inch long, red cones.
Short, tightly set, golden needles. In the PNW the needles stay yellow in the winter.
Full sun to partial shade.
Tolerates poor, gravelly soil.
Rainy Side Notes
Picea orientalis 'Skylands' is a yellow form of the oriental spruce. Sometimes sold as 'Aurea Compacta', the cultivar is thought to come from Skyland Farm in New Jersey. This is a slow growing conifer that will reach 10 feet x 4 feet in ten years. Its ultimate mature height is 35 feet x 12 feet. This tree is a good choice as a specimen, or for smaller gardens where a tall conifer is wanted without giving over too much horizontal space.
Here in the maritime Northwest, the evergreen needles do not burn from heat, as they will in hotter climates. The new candles are chartreuse-yellow. The needles retain their golden charm all year round, contrasting with the greener needles in the shaded interior of the tree. In winter, the golden tones are a welcome relief from the eight months of gray our weather gives us and the monotonous dark green vistas our region is famous for. The brown bark exfoliates in thin scales, adding additional interest. In spring, the young carmine-red flowers, resembling strawberries, are soon followed by reddish-purple cones that turn brown as they mature.
This conifer isn't considered deer resistant. Perhaps the yellow oriental spruce is an acquired taste and the deer in my neighborhood haven't found it, yet.
Photographed in author's garden.