Norway Spruce: A Tree of Many Uses

Picea abies

Norway SpruceThe English resisted calling the Norway spruce by its name, instead referring to it as the “common spruce.” The Finnish claimed it as their own, calling it the Finn spruce, while others, the European spruce. Regardless of what you call it, the Norway spruce is a European staple. Best known for its durability and towering heights, the Norway spruce has spread its popularity across the Atlantic and into the U.S., becoming an American favorite.

What makes this tree even more likeable is its multiple uses. It is an important lumber crop in Europe, producing a strong light-weight wood with a straight grain, making it an ideal choice in construction. It’s a great landscape tree for its dense foliage and tall heights. The tree’s natural pyramidal shape and green color make it one of the most popular Christmas trees in the country.

Here are a few things to note if you’re considering adding a Norway spruce to your tree family.

Environmental Conditions:

  • Does well in acidic, clay, loamy, moist, sandy and well drained soils (hardiness zones 3-7).
  • Does well in full and partial sun.
  • Medium to fast growing tree, growing up to two feet a year and reaching 40-60 feet at maturity.

Physical Attributes:

  • Has dark green, one inch needles with squared tips, needles are retained for six to seven years before dropping.
  • Has a thin, reddish-brown bark that thickens and flakes off as the tree ages.
  • Cones start to form at age 30, with seeds dropping during the winter or early spring, providing food for wildlife.

Tag us in a photo with your Norway spruce!

Serbian Spruce: The Balkan Beauty

Picea omorika

serb spruceWith its arching branches and firm trunk, the Serbian Spruce is a living example of grace and resilience. Omorika—a common word in Bosnian and Serbian symbolizing slenderness—is obvious by the thin frame this tree boasts. Adding to it sturdy branches and a tolerance to most urban conditions, the Serbian Spruce is a great landscape tree and fits naturally in buffer strips.

Here are a few things to note if you’re considering adding it to your tree family.

Environmental Conditions:

  • Grows well in acidic, clay, loamy, moist, rich, sandy and well drained soils (hardiness zones 4-7).
  • Slow to medium growing tree, growing up to a foot a year and reaching 50-60 feet at maturity.
  • Does well in both full sun and partial.

Physical Attributes:

  • Has flat needles similar to a hemlock, not four-sided needles of most spruces.
  • Has arching branches with slender straight trunk.
  • Tolerates urban conditions well, is a popular landscape tree.

Tag us in a photo with your Serbian spruce!