That's a pretty good article that briefly touches on needlecast. Spruces, mainly blues that I've noticed, have been in major decline here in southern butler county for the past 5+ years and the effects are really starting to be noticeable if you look. It's a slow death and the tree services are going to be busy!
Generally the trees that will do best are smaller trees with bigger root structures. 2 to 4 year transplants will cost more. But will usually do better.
A transplant tree will be listed in the catalog like "Colorado Blue Spruce 3-2" That translates to a 5 year old tree which spent 3 years in its sown seed bed, was transplanted into a roomier bed, then spent 2 years there before being dug to sell. A 3-2 tree will have a smaller top than a 5 year seedling. But it will have a MUCH more massive root structure. Much better for a tree, stressed by planting, to have a lot of roots attempting to nourish a smaller top than to have smaller roots attempting to nourish a bigger top.
Plant hundreds of 3-0 Norway spruce seedlings. Well planted seedlings that had been properly cared for prior to planting will yield blocks of cover if planted in 15-20 tree irregular shaped clumps. And they're cheap.