Norway Spruce

The Norway Spruce has over 100 forms and varities that have been named, and is considered the most important species on the European Continent. Although the tree is not native to the Western hemisphere, it is commonly planted here.

Needles are dark green in color, grow on drooping branchlets, and are 4-sided. They tend to be somewhat sharp at the tip but that’s mostly due to the blunt shape from being 4-sided. The needles average .5″ to 1″ in length. The overall shape of the tree tends to be triangular in shape with a slightly bulbous outline in younger trees, giving it a softer outline than some of its counterparts on the tree lot.

It’s important to keep the Norway Spruce well watered as needle retention can become problematic if it starts to dry after cutting.

Pests and Risk Factors

The Eastern Spruce Gall Aphid lays its eggs at the base of underdeveloped needles near the tips of the twigs. Once the “cone” from the aphid develops, all growth is halted for that area of the tree. The Spruce Budworm can also cause damage to this tree’s needles and buds, but tends to inflict more damage on the White and Red Spruces.

Range and Growing Conditions

In Europe the Norway Spruce’s range is extensive. In our half of the globe, the tree has thrived in southeastern Canada and the northeastern United States.

The Norway Spruce can tolerate acidic soils, but cannot thrive on dry soils or those that are deficient in overall nutrients.  If you want a thriving tree, be sure to plant it under full sunlight, in moist, deep soils. But be wary of high-wind areas as this tree does not produce a taproot and is generally shallow-rooted. This makes it susceptible to being blown over.  Climates that temperate and cool are best suited for the Norway Spruce.

Uses for the Norway Spruce

While the wood is strong, it is also resinous, so the Norway Spruce tends to be used more for the manufacture of paper and pulp.

Leafy shoots can be used for brewing spruce beer (wonder if Santa ever had a mug of that!), but its shoots are less desirable than its black and red counterparts.