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Norway Spruce Facts

spruce image by Tatuana Badokina from

The Norway spruce is an evergreen coniferous plant that originated in Europe. The tree is known scientifically as Picea abies. The Norway spruce is also frequently called the European spruce. The large tree grows rapidly and is notable for its elegant and sturdy branches. The trees tend to grow to between 115 and 180 feet tall.


Norway spruces have branches with small diameters. All branches consist of drooping branchlets. The shape of the Norway spruce is similar to that of a pyramid. The tree's spread is between 25 and 40 feet. The tree's shoots are brownish-orange. The leaves resemble needles and are deep green in color. The cones of Norway spruces are either red or green, and after pollination they turn brown.


Norway spruces should be cultivated in full sun. The trees can manage various soil types, including sand, clay and loam. Well-drained soil is preferable. The trees do well with soil that is slightly acidic or slightly alkaline. The trees are relatively drought-tolerant, but they do not tolerate high levels of salinity.


In North America, the trees are often used as windbreaks, as they are highly tolerant of wind. In high winds, the trees can maintain growth well. Norway spruces are also commonly used for reforestation and for timber. And, because of the attractive appearance of the Norway spruce, it is also used as a specimen tree, as long as it has adequate space and is lightly trimmed every few years. Norway spruces are also used as Christmas trees because of their rich, deep green shade and rapid growth.


Of all of the spruce trees, the Norway spruce is the most resistant to disease. However, some pests occasionally affect the trees. In Europe, a common pest for Norway spruce is the spruce beetle. Some signs of infestation by the spruce beetle include the leaves turning reddish-brown to yellowish-green in color. Trees that are seriously infested by spruce beetles often change color by the end of autumn. Then, during the next spring, the tree's needles fall off.


Norway spruce trees appear all over Europe, from Norway in Scandinavia through Central Europe and down to Greece. The trees can be found in the arctic. Norway spruce trees are very common in North America, particularly in the Pacific Northwest, southeastern Canada and the Rocky Mountain states.

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