This beautiful evergreen originated in northern Europe, and is now found throughout the world. Not only is it present in forests, it has also become popular in landscape design. It adapts quickly to various soil conditions, can be transplanted without difficulty and provides shelter for animals to live in, according to the University of Wisconsin.
This tall evergreen is native to Europe where it is known as the "Mountain Spruce," where it is grown at high altitudes. It is also found in southeastern Canada, northeastern United States, the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Coastal region of the United States. The Norway spruce is hardy in zones 2 to 8, and requires a habitat that receives at least 20 inches of rain a year. When planted in areas that do not receive the required rainfall, it will need to be watered to survive. The Norway spruce thrives in moist soil and in humid, cool habitats.
The Norway spruce can reach a mature height of 60 to 90 feet and a width up to 40 feet. Needles are dark green in color, and it has upswept pendulous branches. Pine cones are from 4 to 8 inches in length, and are located at the ends of the upswept branches. The Norway spruce should be planted in full sun or partial shade. It has a deep, spreading root system, making the tree capable of surviving high (100 mph) winds.
During the first 25 years of growth and under ideal soil and water conditions, the Norway Spruce can grow from 2 to 3 feet a year. In less than ideal conditions the growth rate averages 1 foot a year. This large evergreen needs lots of space and is not suited to small urban yards. When grown in partial shade the tree does not grow as tall, and the density of branches is reduced.
This stately tree is used in windbreaks and planted as a specimen tree in a large landscape designs. It is used in reforestation, and is a valuable timber tree. It is also used in the Christmas tree industry; however, it does not hold its needles well after cutting. The tree has a long life and makes an excellent specimen when given adequate room to grow.
Each Christmas season a tree is picked to be placed in Rockefeller Center in New York City. The Norway spruce has been chosen year after year due to its large size and beautiful branches. In 1948 a 100-foot-tall tree was chosen from Killingworth, Connecticut. It is said that afterward the lumber from that tree was used to build a house.