9 Norway Spruce
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Basic Information about this tree
  • Scientific Name: Picea Abies
  • Common name: Norway Spruce
  • Evergreen
  • Sunlight / Moisture / Soil preference: average, acidic, well-drained soils in full sun. Performs well in rich sandy soils. Established plants have some tolerance for dryish soils. Norway spruce is slightly tolerant of salt spray. Prefers cool summer climates.
  • Flowering type: Monoecious, female and male flowers separate but on the same tree.
  • Pollination strategy: Wind
  • Introduced from Europe 
  • Age Estimate/ Health: 25-30 years old
  • Longevity: 300 to 400 years
  • Mature Size: 40-100 ft tall by 25-30 ft wide
  • GPS Coordinates: N45.00204 W92.90402

    Branch Structure: Looks very weepy in form even from a distance because the branches tend to have smaller branches that hang down, like pendulums, off the larger branches.

Mature Tree in Winter/ Summer

9 Norway Spruce winter
9 Norway Spruce summer

Needles - evergreen

: It has four-sided needles that are about 1 inch long. The needles are smooth and stiff with a pointed tips.  Like they say, Sharp Spruce, Friendly Fir. The socket where the needle attaches to the branch on a spruce is square. 

9 Norway Spruce needles
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Flowers - Female & Male - monoecious

It has small male and female flowers on the sale tree. Male flowers are pinkish-red and clustered along the stems. The female flowers are reddish-pink and upright. Once pollinated, the flowers turn green and hang downward as cones ripen.


9 Norway Spruce female flowers
9 Norway Spruce male flowers

Fruit Unripe / Ripe

9 Norway Spruce cones
9 Norway Spruce cone

Bark of Mature Tree / root system sketch

The bark of a young tree is thin and thickens into gray-brown flaky scales with maturity.

9 Norway Spruce bark
9 Norway Spruce root sketch

The root system is typically shallow, with several lateral roots and no taproot. On rocky sites the roots spread widely, twining over the rocks.

Uses in Traditional and Modern Eras

Value for wildlife: Used by birds (hawks and owls), moths, and some small mammals. One good feature is that deer prefer to browse on other types of treesSquirrels prefer the cone’s seeds to those from other trees.

Utility for Humans: Often used for Christmas trees when younger and also used in the manufacturing of wood products such as furniture, buildings, and musical instruments.

Can be used in landscapes as a specimen tree, a screen, or a windbreak. Norway spruce grows fairly fast and grows quite large, so it would make a great windbreak for its aesthetic quality as well. They are tolerant of wind, which makes them a great choice for a windbreak tree.

Traditional uses in Native American Tree Medicine (historical):

Homeowner’s Corner

Disease issues to watch for are cytospora canker, wood decay, needle cast, and rust may occur. Insect pests to watch for include aphids, bagworms, budworms, and borers. Red spider mites can be troublesome.

The best prescription for a healthy Norway spruce is maintaining tree vigor with just the right amount of watering and mulching. Pruning away diseased branches is acceptable in the Norway spruce. Perennial companion plants for Norway spruce include Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum spp.), Astilbe (Astilbe spp.), wild ginger (Asarum spp.), and spikenard (Aralia spp.)

Links & References

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