How to Plant Norway Spruce
If you’re looking for an evergreen that can become a windbreak or shelter fairly quickly, consider the Norway spruce. Norway spruce is a fast-growing tree and is one of the more attractive conifers for the home landscape. Plan carefully and allow plenty of space because this graceful tree can grow to be 25 feet wide and in excess of 80 feet tall. Smaller varieties are available, suitable for the small yard or urban landscape. Norway spruce doesn’t do well in hot, dry climates, but it’s hardy enough to withstand sub-zero temperatures, making it a good choice for northern climates.
Choose a place to plant the Norway spruce: Don’t plant it too close to sidewalks, buildings or street right-of-ways. It’s best to plant the tree as soon as you bring it home from the nursery, but it’s important to avoid planting the tree during extremely dry weather and to give it at least six weeks to develop before the first frost of the season.. If you need to wait to plant the tree, keep the roots constantly moist.
Dig a large hole, not too deep, but at least twice as wide as the size of the Norway spruce root ball. This will give the roots plenty of room to spread. If the tree is in a plastic pot, cut the pot away carefully, but don’t pull it out by the trunk. If the roots are wrapped in burlap, the burlap can be left in place. Just fold the top of the burlap down and away from the trunk and tuck it under the tree.
Dampen the roots in preparation for planting, and set the root ball into the hole, being sure the trunk is straight. Re-fill the hole with soil, tamping it down around the root system as you go--otherwise, air pockets can develop, which can dry out the roots. The trunk should be above ground but all of the roots should be covered.
Keep the young tree watered, especially during hot, dry weather, but don’t flood it. Although young Norway spruce requires a certain amount of attention, once the tree is established, it will require very little care.
Feed Norway spruce mild, slow-acting fertilizer tabs for the initial growing season and save stronger fertilizers for when the tree is established. Once the tree is established, feed it twice a month during early spring and once a month during the summer months. Don’t feed the tree just before it goes into dormancy for the winter.
Control weeds under the Norway spruce until the tree is well-established, so that the weeds don't compete with the young tree for water and nutrients. Once you’ve removed the weeds, add a heavy layer of mulch to help keep them under control and to retain moisture.
M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.