How to Buy a Norway Spruce

Overview

The decision to plant an evergreen tree in the home landscape isn't a simple one. Evergreens last for many years and grow to incredibly large sizes as the tree matures. Planting one of these graceful trees represents a permanent addition to the landscape. Learning what to look for when buying a Norway spruce allows the homeowner to select a healthy plant that will grace the landscape for years to come.

Step 1

Locate your USDA hardiness zone using the link provided in the Resource section. Find the color for your state and compare it to the legend located on the right side of the page. This color-coded key indicates the probable lowest temperature for your location. Nurseries pair this information with plant types to determine which plants can survive the lowest minimum temperature in an area. Norway spruces tolerate growing conditions in zones 3 to 7.

Step 2

Measure the available space in the garden site you've selected for the tree and determine the amount of light that location receives. Norway spruces need full sun. Mature trees reach up to 60 feet in height and 30 feet wide. Allow plenty of room for the plant to grow unchecked in the landscape.

Step 3

Visit the nursery to examine the selection of Norway spruces. Examine the nursery labels, including USDA hardiness zone information, to ensure the success of the plant in your landscape.

Step 4

Look for needles that appear vibrant green. Needles should flex when bent without snapping. Foliage that exhibits brittleness, yellowing or browning indicates a weakened plant. Do not buy a Norway spruce at a reduced rate because of damaged limbs. Brown foliage will not miraculously return to a bright green color.

Step 5

Grasp the plant by the trunk and angle the pot sideways. Look for roots protruding from the bottom holes in the temporary plant pot. Root protrusion from drainage holes indicates the plant's active growth continues despite confinement in the pot. Healthy roots appear white and fleshy rather than gray or brown. Evenly moist soil indicates an appropriate level of care by the nursery.

Step 6

Select a Norway spruce that features a strong central trunk. Looking for even branching on both sides as an indicator of a balanced tree. Check the trunk for oozing sap or wounds that denote pruning of branches. Avoid plants that feature sheared or clipped branches indicating the removal of damaged limbs.

Things You'll Need

  • USDA Hardiness zone map
  • Measuring tape

References

  • University of Illinois: Norway Spruce
  • University of Minnesota: Evergreen Trees and Shrubs

Who Can Help

  • USDA Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: buying norway spruce, norway spruce, selecting evergreens

About this Author

S.F. Heron is an avid gardener with three years of experience in online writing and a working background in aviation and earth and ocean sciences. She is published on various sites, including Helium, eHow and Xomba. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.