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Recommended Planting Distance of Norway Spruce

By Jack S. Waverly ; Updated September 21, 2017
Proper Norway spruce planting depends on the use.

Norway spruce is an evergreen tree species. The Arbor Day Foundation says that these trees are found in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 through 7. Norway spruce grow to 60 feet high with an average width being half the height of the individual tree. These trees can grow rapidly when given the space. Because of its size, the Norway spruce has been considered one of the more useful trees through history.


Use of the Norway spruce determines recommended planting distances. These trees are used for various applications, ranging from protective cover to landscaping or Christmas trees.


Plant windbreaks at a minimum distance of 100 feet from protected areas on level land; this distance should be reduced to 60 feet on steep, sloping ground. Plant the Norway spruce trees 6 feet apart in rows, with the rows being 8 feet apart when using three rows. When the amount of rows increases to greater than three rows, the separation between trees should increase to 8 feet, with spacing between rows increasing to between 10 and 12 feet. An ideal windbreak consists of five rows of trees with smaller plants surrounding the rows.


Plant the windbreaks from between 60 to 100 feet from structures and feed lots, with the most effective distance being up to six times the tree's height. Snow drifts can form piles behind windbreaks a distance equal to three times the tree height in the windbreak. Plant the windbreaks using a "U" or "L" formation, with a distance of 50 feet beyond the corners of the protected area.


Find one of two planting distances for Norway spruce in tree farm operations. Look for smaller spacing of 5-by-5 feet for lots retailing to homeowners; lots retailing to commercial buyers should plant trees farther apart to produce larger trees. While U-cut operations can utilize a 5-by-5-foot spacing, larger trees could suppress newer seedlings because stands contain various ages of trees since they are replaced once they are cut.


Based on a 1936 report from Harvard, the recommended planting distance of Norway spruce has not changed significantly. Older plantations varied in range from 5-by-5 feet up to 15-by-15 feet square. The study shows that smaller spacing allowed for denser growth and more productivity of wood stems. The study also revealed that using smaller stands, such as a 5-by-5 foot square, was only productive using good soil in moist climates; the poorer ground required larger spaced stands. Average knot sizes appeared to increase with the increase in spacing, according to the Harvard study.