Spruce trees and shrubs are evergreen plants belonging to the genus “Picea”. These hardy, versatile plants are not only pleasing to look at but also serve a variety of purposes in gardening and landscaping.
Spruces can be used as standalone specimens, privacy screens, windbreakers, or even habitat for local wildlife. Their adaptability, resilience, and variety make them a popular choice for gardeners and landscapers.
Myths about spruce trees.
Spruce trees are often associated with myths and superstitions. One common myth is that spruces attract lightning, which is not true. Spruce trees do not draw lightning more than any other tree species.
Another myth is that the sap of a spruce tree has healing properties, but studies have shown that this claim lacks scientific evidence.
Finally, it is sometimes believed that the smell of spruce needles can ward off evil spirits. While this belief might have once been popular, there is no scientific fact to back up the claim.
In addition to these myths, some people also associate spruce trees with good luck and prosperity. This may be due to the fact that they are considered a symbol of new beginnings in many cultures.
While this might be a nice sentiment, there is no evidence to suggest that spruce trees actually bring good luck or prosperity.
Spruce tree identification.
Spruce trees are typically identified by their conical shape, with horizontal branches and a narrow crown. The needles of spruce trees are four-sided in cross section, with sharp points. The foliage is usually a darker green than other evergreens.
Depending on the species of Spruce tree, cones may be either small and round or elongated and oval in shape.
Spruce trees also have distinctive bark, which is usually grayish-brown on younger trees, turning to reddish-gray or blackish-brown with age. The bark of spruce trees may also be scaly or furrowed, depending on the species.
In addition to their unique appearance, spruce trees are also known for their fragrant scent. The aroma of a spruce tree is considered to be distinctive and can often be detected from a distance.
Spruce trees are found in many parts of the world, including North America, Europe, Asia, and Russia. There are over 30 species of Spruces that vary in
Different varieties of spruce trees can be distinguished by their color and shape, as well as the size and texture of their needles. The most common kinds are Norway Spruce (Picea abies), Blue Spruce (Picea pungens), and Black Spruce (Picea mariana).
Other varieties include White Spruce ((Picea glauca), Red Spruce (Picea rubens), and Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis).
In addition to trees, spruces also come in the form of shrubs. Spruce shrubs are compact, low-growing plants that are commonly used for landscaping. They are often used to create hedges or as accent plants in rock gardens.
Like spruce trees, spruce shrubs have needles that are four-sided and sharp. Spruce shrubs also have cones that are similar in shape to those of spruce trees.
Some popular species of spruce shrubs include the Dwarf Alberta Spruce (Picea glauca ‘Conica’), which is a small, slow-growing shrub that is often used for border planting and in container gardens.
Another popular spruce shrub is the Bird’s Nest Spruce (Picea abies ‘Nidiformis’), which has a low, spreading growth habit and makes an excellent groundcover. Other varieties of spruce shrubs include the Black Hills Spruce (Picea glauca ‘Densata’) and the Meyer’s Spruce (Picea meyeri).
Types of Spruce Trees and Shrubs: A Closer Look
1. Alcock’s spruce (Picea alcoquiana)
Alcock’s spruce is a slow-growing evergreen tree native to Pacific North America. It has a pyramidal growth habit and typically grows up to around 20 feet in height, but can reach heights of up to 40 feet with time.
It requires well-drained acidic soil with a pH range between 4.5 and 6, and prefers full sun to partial shade. Its needles are 1-2 cm long and have a blue-green color with a waxy coating on the underside.
Alcock’s spruce is often used as an ornamental tree due to its attractive appearance, but can also be used for windbreaks or shelterbelts. The species is also susceptible to insect pests and fungal diseases, so regular maintenance is important for keeping it healthy.
Its unique feature is its blue-green needles which have a waxy underside coating that protects them from the elements.
It’s an excellent choice for windbreaks or shelterbelts as it can tolerate prolonged exposure to high winds and it has a good tolerance for cold temperatures.
It’s also fairly low-maintenance and can be grown in most soil types as long as it is well-drained and acidic. Alcock’s spruce is an attractive tree that is ideal for adding year-round beauty to any landscape.
2. Bird’s Nest Spruce (Picea abies ‘Nidiformis’)
The Bird’s Nest Spruce is a slow-growing, evergreen conifer tree with a rounded, dwarf form. It grows at a moderate rate of around 5 inches per year and reaches 2 to 3 feet tall at maturity with a spread of about 4 feet.
This plant is best grown in moist but well-drained, acidic soil in full sun to partial shade. It prefers a soil pH of 4.5 to 6.5 and is very tolerant of urban pollution, making it an ideal choice for city gardens.
This tree has unique features that set it apart from other varieties of spruce trees. Its lower branches turn up and outwards, creating a nest-like shape that gives the tree its name.
It also has twisted, blue-green foliage and reddish-brown bark with scales that make it a great choice for adding texture and interest to any landscape.
Bird’s Nest Spruce is very low maintenance and can be left alone once established. It does not require much pruning or fertilization but may need to be protected from strong winds.
This variety of spruce tree is popular for use as an ornamental plant or in rock gardens, borders, and containers. It is also great for wildlife habitat as it provides shelter and food for birds and squirrels.
3. Black Spruce (Picea mariana)
Black Spruce (Picea mariana) is an evergreen coniferous tree commonly found across northern North America. It prefers moist, acidic soils and can reach heights of up to 25 meters.
The pH range for Black Spruce is between 4.5 and 50, making it well-suited to bogs and other acidic wetlands. In terms of light requirements, this species prefers partial shade but can survive in full sun as well as deep shade.
One of the most unique features of Black Spruce is its growth habit. It has a conical shape with long, slightly drooping branches that often hang down from the crown. This gives it a distinctive look that is quite different from the other conifers found in the same habitat.
The bark of young trees is thin and smooth, while older trees develop thicker, furrowed bark. The needles of Black Spruce are short and have four sides with sharp points at the tips. They are dark green on top and blue-green underneath.
The wood of Black Spruce is light and soft, making it ideal for paper pulp production and various other uses such as furniture construction, firewood, charcoal, and other forms of fuel. It also has a pleasant aroma when burned. Interestingly enough, this species is also used in the flavoring of certain foods and beverages.
4. Brewer Spruce (Picea breweriana)
The Brewer Spruce (Picea breweriana) is a medium-sized evergreen conifer that is native to the western United States and Canada. It typically grows in an upright, pyramidal form with strong, horizontal branching.
Its needles are bright green and its bark has a reddish-brown color. It prefers well-drained, moist, acidic soils and is usually found near streams or on mountain slopes. The Brewer Spruce grows best in full sun but can tolerate some shade.
The optimum pH range for this tree is between 5.5 and 6.5. It prefers warm, dry summers but can survive cold winters if the temperatures remain above -30°F. The Brewer Spruce is moderately drought tolerant once established and can survive in high-altitude climates.
Unique features of this species include its bright yellow or red cones, which are 3 to 5 inches long and remain on the tree throughout the year. Its needles are twisted, providing a unique texture when compared to other spruces. The Brewer Spruce is also relatively disease-resistant, which makes it a great choice for gardeners looking for a tough and hardy tree.
5. Burmese spruce (Picea farreri)
The Burmese spruce (Picea farreri) is a coniferous evergreen tree native to the eastern Himalayas in Southeast Asia. It has an erect, pyramidal form with opting branches that give it an elegant appearance. The needles are short and bluish-green in color, while the bark is thin, scaly, and reddish-brown.
This species can grow in a wide range of soils, provided it has adequate drainage. It prefers moist, well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade. The ideal pH range is 5.5 – 6.0.
Burmese spruce is an easy-to-grow tree and is fairly pest resistant. It is a fast grower, with some specimens reaching heights of 60 feet in just 20 years. Its unique feature is the attractive silver stripes that form on the bark as it matures.
These stripes become more pronounced with age, eventually forming an impressive pattern. This species is also tolerant of cold and heat, making it a great choice for gardeners in all climates.
6. Caucasian or Oriental spruce (Picea orientalis)
Caucasian or Oriental spruce (Picea orientalis) is a medium to large tree, typically growing 40 to 60 feet tall with a pyramidal shape. Its branches are dense and its needles are bright green in color and 2-4 inches long.
This species prefers moist, well-drained soils and is tolerant of both acidic and alkaline pH levels. It thrives in full sun locations, although it will also tolerate some shade.
This tree has excellent winter hardiness and good drought resistance once established. The bark on mature trees is a rough gray color with orange highlights.
Additionally, the cones are two to four inches long and reddish-brown in color. As the cones mature, they become purple-gray, making them a unique feature for this of spruce.
7. Chihuahua spruce (Picea chihuahuana)
Chihuahua spruce (Picea chihuahuana) is native to the Sierra Madre range in Mexico and grows naturally in areas with high altitudes. This small, slow-growing coniferous tree has a pyramidal growth habit and can reach heights of 30–40 feet (9–12 m).
Its needles are bright green and quite short compared to other spruce species, and its cylindrical cones are about 1 inch (2.5 cm) long.
Chihuahua spruce prefers moist, well-drained soils and grows best in slightly acidic conditions with a pH range from 5.0 to 6.0. It prefers full sun, but will tolerate some shade.
Some of the unique features of Chihuahua spruce include its tolerance for ice and snow, making it ideal for northern climates, as well as its attractive blue-green foliage and attractive form.
In addition to being used as an ornamental tree in landscapes, this species is also popular in the timber industry for its strength and durability. It is also valuable as wildlife habitat, providing shelter and food for a variety of animals.
8. Colorado spruce or blue spruce (Picea pungens)
The Colorado spruce, also known as blue spruce (Picea pungens), is native to the Rocky Mountain region of North America.
It is a coniferous evergreen tree with a pyramidal shape and dense foliage that ranges in color from blue-green to silvery-gray, depending on location and growing conditions.
The Colorado spruce has a slow to medium growth rate, reaching heights of 40-50 feet at maturity with a 20-30 foot spread. It can tolerate a wide range of soils but prefers moist, well-drained soil with a pH range of 5.0 to 8.0 and full to partial sun exposure for best growth.
This tree has a few unique features that make it distinct from other evergreens. Its foliage is dense and fragrant, with soft blue-green needles that are 4-6 inches long.
The bark is smooth and grayish-brown when young, becoming more scaly and furrowed with age. It also produces light brown conelike fruits that contain the tree’s seeds.
9. Dragon spruce (Picea asperata)
Dragon spruce (Picea asperata) is a slow-growing, conical to pyramidal evergreen with tapering, bright green foliage and light gray bark. It can reach heights of up to 25–35 feet in the landscape and 10–20 feet in containers.
This tree prefers acidic soil that is moist and well-drained, with a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5 being ideal. It typically prefers full sun but can tolerate partial shade if the soil remains consistently moist.
One of the most unique features of this tree is its needle-like foliage; each leaf has a single point at the tip that makes it look like a dragon’s tooth. The branches are also quite stiff and generally hang downward, giving the tree its pyramid-like shape. It is also quite drought-tolerant once established.
10. Dwarf Alberta Spruce (Picea glauca ‘Conica’)
The Dwarf Alberta Spruce (Picea glauca ‘Conica’) is a growing, conical ever shrub that can reach up to 10 feet in height when mature. Its slender branches are laden with bright green needles and its compact shape makes it an attractive specimen for any garden.
It prefers soils that are acidic and moist with a pH range of 5.5 to 6.8. It can tolerate sun or shade, although it will grow best when planted in full sunlight.
One of the unique features of this particular spruce is its ability to retain its shape without pruning or shearing, something not all conifers can do.
It also has a slow to moderate growth rate and is quite tolerant of cold temperatures, making it well-suited for cooler climates. Lastly, the Dwarf Alberta Spruce doesn’t produce cones until it’s at least 10 years old.
11. Dwarf Blue Spruce (Picea pungens ‘Globosa’)
Dwarf Blue Spruce is a growing evergreen shrub with a round, mounding form. It typically grows to 4-6 ft tall and 6-8 ft wide over time. This tree prefers moist well-drained soils in full sun to part shade, but is quite tolerant of a range of soil types and pH ranges.
It prefers a slightly acidic soil pH range of 6.0-7.5, but can tolerate soils outside this range as well. This tree prefers its location to receive full sun most of the day, allowing it to develop foliage color and retain its shape better than in locations with only partial or dappled shade.
Unique features of the Dwarf Blue Spruce include its silvery-blue color, making it an attractive addition to gardens and landscapes. The foliage maintains its blue color even in cold temperatures, adding winter interest to any landscape.
It is also very tolerant of wind and drought conditions once established. This tree requires minimal pruning for shape maintenance and low-maintenance overall. It can be used as a specimen plant, in groupings, or massed for screening It is also deer resistant and a good selection for erosion control areas.
12. Dwarf Norway Spruce (Picea abies ‘Conica’)
The Dwarf Norway Spruce (Picea abies ‘Conica’) is an evergreen conifer that has a dense, pyramidal form with short, green needles. It grows slowly, reaching up to 6 feet in height and 2-4 feet in width after 10 years. This tree does well in USDA hardiness zones 3-7.
This spruce prefers moist and well-drained soils with a pH range of 5.0 to 7.5, but it is tolerant to a wide range of soil types. It requires full sun and some wind protection for the best growth.
The Dwarf Norway Spruce has attractive blue-green needles that remain on the plant year-round. It is pest and disease-resistant, drought-tolerant, and can be used as an accent or screening tree in any landscape. This resilient evergreen will make a wonderful addition to your garden!
13. Engelmann’s Spruce (Picea engelmannii)
Engelmann’s Spruce (Picea engelmannii) is a coniferous evergreen tree native to western North America. It grows in a pyramidal shape and typically reaches heights of 30-60 feet when mature with a spread of 10-20 feet.
Engelmann spruce thrives in moist, sandy loam soils with a pH range of 5.0 to 7.5 and prefers full sun for optimal growth. It is also tolerant of partial shade, wind, and even sea-salt spray.
Unique features of the Engelmann spruce include its dense foliage which changes color from light green in the summer to silvery blue in the winter. Its bark is reddish-brown, becoming scaly and furrowed with age.
This tree produces cones that are barrel-shaped and 1–2 inches in length containing tiny 6 to 8 millimeter long seeds.
It also has an interesting wood structure which makes it great for use as a tonewood for musical instruments like guitars and violins. Engelmann spruce grows relatively slowly, at a rate of 12 feet per year. Its lifespan can be quite long, with some specimens living up to 750 years in the wild.
14. Glehn’s spruce (Picea glehnii)
Glehn’s spruce (Picea glehnii) is a small evergreen conifer native to Japan, with dense foliage and a pyramidal form. It grows slowly to of up to 20 feet ( m), with a spread of–15 feet (3–4.5 m). The needles are bright green, 1–3 inches (2.5–7.6 cm) long very sharp-pointed; may be slightly glossy in some. The bark is thin and scaly.
Glehn’s spruce prefers well-drained soil that is cool and moist but not wet or overly dry. The ideal pH range is 5.5–7.0. It prefers full sun but will tolerate light shade, and can be cultivated in USDA Hardiness Zones 4–6.
Unique features of Glehn’s spruce include the fact that it does not drop its needles within the first few years of growth, making it an ideal candidate for gardens with a no-needle drop policy.
Additionally, the needles are known to remain on the tree for more than three years. This species is also noted for its vigorous growth and year-round beauty. Its deep green color provides an excellent contrast to other evergreens in mixed plantings.
15. Green dragon spruce (Picea retroflexa)
The Green dragon spruce (Picea retroflexa) is an evergreen conifer native to the mountains of China and Tibet. It is an attractive, low-maintenance tree with a distinctive pyramidal shape when young that becomes more pointed as it matures.
Its narrow, dense foliage provides good privacy screening, making it a great choice for some home landscapes.
Growth Habit: The Green dragon spruce is slow-growing, with an average height of 10 to 15 feet and a width of 8 to 10 feet. It can reach up to 50 feet when mature.
Soil Type: This tree prefers moist, well-drained soil but can tolerate dry conditions. It does best in soil with a pH range of 5.5 to 7.0
Light Requirements: This tree thrives in full sun to partial shade, receiving at least four hours of direct sunlight per day.
Unique Features: Green dragon spruce is highly resistant to pests and disease and rarely need pruning. Its evergreen foliage is a lovely shade of blue-green, and the bark takes on an orange-red hue as it matures. The needles are sharp to the touch and have a pleasant pine scent when crushed.
16. Korean spruce (Picea koraiensis)
The Korean Spruce (Picea koraiensis) is a majestic evergreen conifer with a pyramidal form and is native to eastern Asia.
This tree grows slowly to reach heights of to 30 meters (100 feet) tall, with a spread of about 10 meters (35 feet). The branches are stiffly arranged in a pyramidal shape that tapers at the top.
The Korean Spruce prefers well-drained, acidic soils and a pH range of 4.5 to 6.0. It needs full sun or partial shade and is moderately drought tolerant once established. The tree is relatively disease-free, but can be affected by scale insects and spider mites.
17. Koyama’s spruce (Picea koyamae)
Koyama’s spruce (Picea koyamae) is a medium-sized coniferous tree native to Japan. It is closely related to the Siberian spruce and shares similar characteristics, including a pyramidal growth habit, spreading branches, and deep green needles.
The tree typically grows up to 25 feet tall, but can reach heights of up to 40 feet.
Koyama’s spruce prefers a well-drained, acidic soil type and a pH range between 4.5 and 6.5. It requires full sun in order to thrive and can tolerate temperatures down to -20°F (-29°C). The tree is also known for its resistance to drought and pests.
In addition to its regular green foliage, Koyama’s spruce has a beautiful, silver-blue hue that appears in the winter months when temperatures drop to below freezing. This distinctive color makes it popular as an ornamental tree in parks, gardens, and backyards.
18. Meyer’s spruce (Picea meyeri)
Meyer’s spruce is a shrub-like conifer evergreen with a rounded, pyramidal that can reach heights of up to 20 feet (6 m). It has dark green needles in dense clusters and produces small cones.
The Meyer’s spruce prefers moist, well-drained soil types, such as sandy loam or silt loam. Neutral to slightly acidic soil is best, with a pH range of 5.5-7.0. It needs full sun exposure and will do better in cooler climates but can withstand temperatures up to -20°F (-28°C).
Meyer’s spruce has a few unique features that make it an attractive addition to any landscape. It is highly resistant to drought, making it a great choice for dry areas. It also has relatively fast growth rates and can reach maturity in just five years. Additionally, its bright green foliage provides year-round interest and beauty in the garden.
19. Morinda spruce (Picea smithiana)
Morinda spruce (Picea smithiana) is an evergreen tree native to western North America. It grows in a pyramidal shape, eventually reaching heights of 40–50 feet tall and 15–20 feet wide. The dark green needles are 1 inch long and slightly curved with a sharp point. The bark is grayish-brown and scaly.
Growth habit: Morinda spruce grows slowly but steadily. It can take up to 10 years for the tree to reach its full height, but then it will continue to grow an inch or two every year after that.
Soil type: Morinda spruce prefers deep, well-drained, acidic soil.
pH range: This tree does best in slightly acidic soil with a pH between 4.5 and 6.0.
Light requirements: Morinda spruce prefers full sun exposure but can tolerate partial shade.
Unique features: Morinda spruce has several unique features that make it an attractive choice for landscaping. The needles are dark green and the bark is grayish-brown, giving the tree an elegant look. It is also resistant to many diseases and pest problems, making it a low-maintenance choice for gardeners.
20. Norway spruce (Picea abies)
The Norway spruce (Picea abies) is an evergreen coniferous tree native to northern Europe and parts of Asia. It is one of the most popular trees in landscaping, valued for its rapid growth rate and ability to thrive in harsh climates.
This species can reach heights of up to 100 feet when mature with a trunk diameter of up to 3 feet. The Norway spruce has a conical shape when young, but as it matures its branches will spread out and the tree will take on a broad-pyramidal form.
The Norway spruce prefers moist, well-drained soils with a pH range between 4.5 and 7. It can also tolerate drier soils and partial shade, but will perform best when provided with full sun.
Some of the unique features of the Norway spruce include its long dark green needles that measure about 1-2 inches in length. They are typically four-sided and have blunt tips. This tree is also known for its abundant cones which hang downward and are red-brown in color.
21. Oriental Spruce, Caucasian Spruce (Picea orientalis)
The Oriental Spruce is a medium sized, evergreen coniferous tree which can reach heights up to 30 meters. It has a pyramidal growth habit when young and can become more spreading or irregular in shape as it matures. It is native to southeastern Europe and western Asia but is widely planted elsewhere as an ornamental.
The Oriental Spruce thrives in well-drained soils which are moist but not wet and can tolerate a wide range of pH levels. It prefers full sun, though it will also tolerate partial shade.
22. Purple cone spruce (Picea purpurea)
The purple cone spruce (Picea purpurea) is a coniferous tree that grows in an upright, narrow form. It typically grows to about 10-20 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide, with some species reaching up to 40 feet tall.
The needles are sharp and blue-green in color and the bark is a reddish-brown color. The cones are mostly purple, hence the name.
This tree prefers cooler climates and damp soil with good drainage. Its pH range should be 5.0 to 7.5 and requires full sun for optimal growth, although it can tolerate some shade in hotter areas.
Some unique features of this tree include its dense foliage and purple cones, although the cones can sometimes be yellow or green depending on the species.
It also has good fire resistance due to its thick bark, making it an ideal choice for areas prone to wildfires. The wood is strong and resistant to splitting, which makes it a popular choice for construction in some countries.
23. Red spruce (Picea rubens)
Red spruce (Picea rubens) is a coniferous evergreen tree that typically grows as tall as 80 feet. It has a pyramidal shape, with an open crown and horizontal branches that become pendulous at the tips.
The bark is scaly or furrowed and gray to reddish-brown in color with small, yellow-green buds. The needles are short and four-angled, about 1/2 inch long.
Growth habit: Red spruce is a slow grower with an upright, open form. It can tolerate shade but does best in full sun.
Soil type: Red spruce prefers soil that is moist,-drained, and rich organic matter.
pH range: Red spruce prefers acidic soil with a pH between 4.5 and 6.0.
Light requirements: Red spruce does best in full sun but can partial shade.
Unique features: The wood of red spruce is light strong, and has a straight grain that makes it ideal for use in construction and furniture making. When used as an ornamental tree, red spruce will provide interest throughout the year due to its attractive bark and evergreen foliage. It also provides good cover for wildlife.
24. Sargent’s spruce (Picea brachytyla)
Sargent’s spruce is an evergreen coniferous tree native to North America. Its growth habit is pyramidal, with dense branching and strong upright leaders. It can grow up to 80 feet tall under ideal conditions and has a spread of 15-30 feet.
This species grows best in moist, well-drained loam soils with a pH range of 5.5-7.5 and prefers partial to full sunlight exposure. It is tolerant of wind, salt, cold temperatures down to -40°F, and some shade from other trees.
Unique features include its bright green needles, glossy bark and pinkish cones. The bark is scaly and cinnamon-colored when young, adding a beautiful texture to the landscape.
Sargent’s spruce also has excellent winter hardiness and drought tolerance, making it an excellent choice for a variety of landscapes in different climates. It can be used as a specimen tree or planted in groups for screening and windbreaks.
25. Schrenk’s spruce (Picea schrenkiana)
Growth Habit: Schrenk’s spruce is an evergreen coniferous tree, with a pyramidal shape and broad, semi-upright branches. It grows slowly, reaching heights of up to 30 feet (9 m).
Soil Type: Schrenk’s spruce does best in well-drained, moist soils with a slightly acidic pH. It is tolerant of sandy or clay soil and can tolerate short periods of drought.
pH Range: The ideal soil pH range for Schrenk’s spruce is 4.5-7.0 (acidic to neutral).
Light Requirements: Schrenk’s spruce prefers full sun, though it can tolerate light shade.
Unique Features: This tree has a unique pattern of growth—the lower branches droop downward while the upper branches remain upward-pointing, giving it an umbrella-like shape. It is also valued for its ornamental cones and grey-green foliage. It is also highly tolerant of cold temperatures and can withstand winter temperatures as low as -40°F (-40°C).
26. Serbian spruce (Picea omorika)
The Serbian spruce (Picea omorika) is a coniferous tree found in the mountains of Serbia. It has an upright, pyramidal growth habit and can reach heights of up to 80 feet when mature.
The tree prefers moist, well-drained soils that are rich in organic matter, with a pH range of 5.5 to 7.0. It needs full sun to partial shade to thrive, and can withstand temperatures as low as -40F in winter.
The Serbian spruce has unique features that set it apart from other conifers, such as its long, flexible stems and needles.
Its bark is gray-brown in color with a rough texture, and its needles are light green in color with a silver-blue sheen. The cones of the Serbian spruce are reddish-brown and measure up to 1.5 inches long.
27. Siberian spruce (Picea obovata)
The Siberian spruce (Picea obovata) is an evergreen coniferous tree native to the taiga of Siberia and parts of Northern Europe.
It has a pyramidal growth habit, with branches that are mostly horizontal and droop towards the tips. The foliage is silvery green, stiff needles with pointed tips.
This species of spruce prefers moist well-drained soils, but will grow on a wide range of soil types. To thrive it should be planted in an area with plenty of moisture and good drainage. It has a wide pH range tolerance, from 4.5 to 7.5, making it an ideal choice for alkaline or acidic soil.
The Siberian spruce needs at least partial shade in order to thrive, and should be planted in an area that receives plenty of morning sun and afternoon shade. It can tolerate full sun if provided with adequate moisture.
Unique features of the Siberian spruce include its dark brown bark, which develops into attractive scaly plates as it matures.
The foliage is a bright silvery green color and the cones are reddish brown when they mature in late summer. It is an ideal choice for windbreaks, screens, accent trees or group plantings. It can also be planted as a forest tree.
28. Sikkim spruce (Picea spinulosa)
Sikkim spruce (Picea spinulosa) is an evergreen conifer species native to the Himalayas. It is a medium-sized tree typically growing 20 to 40 meters in height, with a pyramidal crown and pendulous branches. The bark of mature trees is reddish brown and scaly, while the foliage consists of stiff, dark green needles.
Growth habit: Sikkim spruce is slow-growing in its native range but can be faster growing in more temperate climates. It grows best in moist, well-drained soil and prefers full sun to partial shade.
Soil type: Sikkim spruce needs moist, well-drained soil with a pH range between 5.5 and 7.0 for optimal growth.
Light requirements: Sikkim spruce prefers full sun to partial shade. In shade, it may have fewer needles and some minor damage from frost.
Unique features: The bark of mature trees is reddish brown and scaly, while the foliage consists of stiff, dark green needles. The cones are up to 1.5 inches long and have papery scales that can easily flake off. The wood is heavy and durable, making it an excellent choice for timber production. It is also widely used as an ornamental tree in parks and gardens.
29. Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis)
Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis) is a large, evergreen tree native to the Pacific Northwest of North America. It is renowned for its fast growth rate and attractive, conical shape.
The Sitka spruce can reach heights of up to 200 feet and has a diameter of 4-6 feet at maturity. Its crown is usually symmetrical, with branches that ascend upwards from the trunk.
Growth habit: Sitka spruce generally has a pyramidal form, although some trees can become more rounded or columnar as they age. It grows rapidly for the first 15-20 years, and then its growth rate slows thereafter. The bark of the Sitka spruce is thin and scaly, with a reddish-brown color.
Soil type: The Sitka spruce prefers moist, well-drained soils that are high in organic matter. It can tolerate some waterlogging, but will not do well in excessively wet or dry conditions.
pH range: The Sitka spruce prefers a soil pH between 4.5 and 8.0, but can tolerate slightly higher or lower pH levels without any significant damage to the tree.
Light requirements: The Sitka spruce needs full sun for optimal growth, but is also tolerant of some shade.
Unique features: The Sitka spruce is known for its unique pendulous branchlets and attractive, blue-green needles. Its cones are egg-shaped and have papery scales that are often described as resembling a shaggy mophead.
30. Taiwan spruce (Picea morrisonicola)
Taiwan spruce (Picea morrisonicola) is a slow-growing evergreen tree native to the mountains of Taiwan. It has an upright pyramidal growth habit, attaining heights of up to 20 m (66 ft), but typically reaches only 3–4 m (10–13 ft).
Its foliage is composed of stiff, dark green needles that are 1–2 cm (0.4–0.8 in) long and appear in bundles of two or three. The bark is scaly and reddish-brown on young trees but becomes blocky, fissured, and gray as the tree matures.
Taiwan spruce prefers well-drained, slightly acidic soil with a pH range of 5.0–6.5 and will tolerate partial shade. It is drought tolerant once established and can withstand temperatures as low as -20°C (-4°F).
Unique features of the Taiwan spruce include its ability to retain some green needles during winter months and its attractive bark. It is also resistant to damage from deer and Japanese beetle. The Taiwan spruce can be used as an attractive landscape specimen, screen or windbreak, or as a bonsai subject.
31. Tiger-tail spruce (Picea torano)
The tiger-tail spruce (Picea torano) is an evergreen tree native to Japan. It has a pyramidal growth habit and reaches heights of up to 40 feet with a 15 foot spread.
This species prefers moist, well-drained soils and requires acidic soil with a pH range between 4.0 and 6.5. Tiger-tail spruce requires full sun to partial shade, although it can tolerate more shade in warmer climates.
The most unique feature of the tiger-tail spruce is its scaly foliage. The needles are bright green and have a distinctive banding pattern that looks like tiger stripes. In the winter months, the leaves turn a bronze-purple color.
The bark is reddish-brown and scaly, with shallow grooves that give it a tiger-like texture. The cones are 5–6 cm long and purple when unripe, then turning brown as they mature.
32. Veitch’s spruce (Picea neoveitchii)
Veitch’s Spruce (Picea neoveitchii) is a medium-sized coniferous tree native to northern China, Japan and Korea. typically grows to between 25 and 35 feet height and has a pyramidal shape with ascending branches. The bark is thin, grayish-brown in color, and covered with small, scaly plates.
In terms of soil type, Veitch’s Spruce prefers moist, well-drained soils and can tolerate a wide range of pH levels from acidic to slightly alkaline. It does require full sun for optimum growth and health, but will tolerate partial shade.
Some of the unique features of Veitch’s Spruce include its glossy, dark green needles that turn to a golden yellow in autumn and its attractive red-brown cones.
The bark is very thin and flaky and the wood is light in color. It is also an excellent choice for screens, windbreaks, and specimen planting due to its rapid growth rate.
33. White Spruce (Picea glauca)
White Spruce (Picea glauca) is a large evergreen coniferous tree that typically grows to a height of 60–90 feet and can live up to 300 years.
It has an upright pyramidal shape with thin, gray-green needles that are short and sharp. The bark is scaly and dark gray. The cones are oval and reddish-brown.
Growth habit: White Spruce is a slow grower but can reach its full size within 80 years. It typically grows in an upright columnar shape, though some specimens may have a more open or irregular form with age.
Soil type: White Spruce prefers acidic, well-drained soils with a pH range of 4.5–6.0. It does best in moist, cool sites that receive full sun or partial shade and is tolerant of windy conditions.
Light requirements: White Spruce prefers full sun to partial shade. Too much shade can reduce the amount of light available for photosynthesis and stunt growth.
Unique features: White Spruce is an important timber species in North America, used to make paper, furniture, and other wood products. The foliage of White Spruce can be used to create a soft evergreen hedge or windbreak in the landscape.
It is also popular as a Christmas tree species due to its attractive shape, texture, and color. The wood of White Spruce is also used to make violins and other stringed instruments.
34. White Spruce Shrub (Picea glauca ‘Echiniformis’)
White Spruce Shrub (Picea glauca ‘Echiniformis’) is a slow-growing, evergreen shrub that typically reaches a height of 4 to 6 and a width of 3 to 8 feet. It has an upright pyramidal form, with thickly packed branches displaying short needles in blue-green shades.
For optimal growth, White Spruce prefers moist but well-drained soil and a pH range of 4.5–7.0. It requires full sun or partial shade to thrive, although young trees may require some extra protection from intense sunlight until they are established and can handle it on their own.
One of the most unique features of White Spruce Shrub is its needles, which are short and pointed like those of a typical spruce.
They have a silvery blue hue that darkens in cold weather and changes back to a lighter shade during the warmer months. The bark of the shrub is thin and scaly with an orangish-brown hue
35. Wilson’s spruce (Picea wilsonii)
Wilson’s spruce (Picea wilsonii) is an evergreen conifer that typically grows in a conical shape. It can reach heights of 30-50 feet, but has been known to reach up to 100 feet tall with a spread of 12-20 feet wide.
Its bark is light gray and rough, with ridges and furrows. Its needles are bright green to blue-green in color and measure 1-2 cm long.
This tree thrives in moist, well-drained soil, especially those that are high in organic matter. It will grow best in soil that has a pH range between 5.5 and 7.0. It prefers full sun to partial shade, although it will tolerate some shade.
Wilson’s spruce is a unique species in that its needles remain attached to the tree for up to three years and then fall off, giving the tree an ever-changing look. It is also very disease resistant and can withstand temperatures as low as -46°F.
Due to its hardiness, this tree is well-suited for a variety of landscapes. It also makes an excellent windbreak or privacy screen when planted in groupings.
It is important to note that Wilson’s spruce does not respond well to excessive pruning and shearing, so it should only be done if necessary. Additionally, its roots may damage sidewalks and other structures, so it is best to plant this tree away from these areas.
Types of spruce trees in Canada.
There are five main types of spruce trees that inhabit Canadian forests. These include:
- White Spruce (Picea glauca) – This species is the most common type of conifer in Canada and it occurs mainly in northern parts of the country, including Labrador and Newfoundland. It has a tall, narrow shape and its needles are usually blue-green in color.
- Black Spruce (Picea mariana) – This species is found across the boreal forests of Canada and it has a conical shape with very dark green needles. It prefers moist soils, which makes it well adapted to wetter parts of the country.
- Red Spruce (Picea rubens) – This species is native to the Appalachian Mountains and occurs in the Maritimes, as well as parts of central Canada. Its needles are bright green and it prefers drier conditions than the other spruce species in Canada.
- Norway Spruce (Picea abies) – This species is native to northern Europe and it was introduced to Canada in the early 1800s for commercial forestry purposes. It has a pyramidal shape with bright green needles and it can thrive in many types of soils across the country.
- Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis) – This species is the largest of all of Canada’s spruce trees and it can grow up to 200 feet tall. Its needles are a deep blue-green color they occur on branches that droop down towards the ground. This species is native to western North America and it is found mainly along the Pacific coast of Canada.
Types of spruce trees in Michigan.
Michigan has three main species of spruce tree: Black Spruce (Picea mariana), White Spruce (Picea glauca), and Norway Spruce (Picea abies).
The Black Spruce is a small to medium-sized evergreen tree that grows between 10 and 20 feet in height, with a conical shape. It has short, stiff, blue-green needles and a scaly bark that is reddish brown in color. Commonly found in wetter areas, it can tolerate cold temperatures and some shade.
The White Spruce is another medium-sized tree that grows to between 30 and 50 feet high with an oval to conical shape. It has short, stiff green needles, and a gray-brown scaly bark. It is commonly found in wet sites, such as swamps and bogs, but it can also tolerate drier soils.
The Norway Spruce is the largest of the three species, reaching heights of up to 100 feet when mature. It has long, stiff green needles and a gray-brown scaly bark. This spruce is quite hardy, tolerating cold temperatures and dry soils as well. It’s commonly found in urban areas, parks, and larger landscapes.
Types of spruce trees in Colorado.
Colorado is home to five types of spruce trees: Engelmann Spruce (Picea engelmannii), Blue Spruce (Picea pungens), Black Hills Spruce (Picea glauca var. densata), Colorado White Spruce (Picea pungens ssp.pungens) and Southwestern White Spruce (Picea pungens ssp. glauca).
Engelmann spruce is found throughout Colorado, from the foothills of the Rocky Mountains to higher elevations in the mountains. It grows at an elevation range of 1,000 to 11,000 feet. The Engelmann spruce has a slightly bluish-green color and grows in an upright, conical shape. It is often used for timber production.
Blue spruce is also found throughout Colorado, from 5,000 to 11,500 feet. The Blue Spruce has a blue-green or silvery needle color and its needles are stiffer than other spruces. It is a popular choice for windbreaks and timber production.
Black Hills Spruce is native to the Black Hills area of Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota and grows at elevations of 8,000 to 10,000 feet. This species has blue-green needles that are shorter than those of Engelmann or Blue Spruce.
Colorado White Spruce is found in the mountains of Colorado, Wyoming and Utah at elevations between 8,000 and 12,000 feet. It has an upright conical shape with dense foliage that is a bright green color. It is a popular choice for reforestation projects due to its fast growth rate and ability to withstand harsh weather conditions.
Southwestern White Spruce is native to Colorado and also found in Utah, New Mexico and Arizona. It grows at elevations of 6,000 to 12,000 feet and can tolerate drier conditions than other spruces. The Southwestern White Spruce has a blue-green needle color and its needles are shorter than those of other spruces. It is a popular choice for windbreaks and timber production.
Types of spruce trees in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin is home to many species of spruce trees, which can be found in both northern and southern regions across the state.
The most common species of spruces in Wisconsin include White Spruce (Picea glauca), Black Spruce (Picea mariana), Norway Spruce (Picea abies) and Blue Spruce (Picea pungens).
White spruces are found more often in the northern parts of Wisconsin, while Black, Norway and Blue spruces can be found throughout the state. All of these species provide food and shelter for many wildlife species, as well as being important sources of timber.
Spruce trees also play an important role in the aesthetics of Wisconsin’s forests, as their evergreen needles provide a unique look year-round.
Spruce trees can live for many years and provide shade and habitat for many animals. They are also valuable sources of timber that can be harvested sustainably to support local economies.
In Wisconsin, spruce trees are an important part of the state’s ecology, economy and aesthetics.
Types of spruce trees in Minnesota.
Minnesota is home to many varieties of spruce trees, including White Spruce (Picea glauca), Black Spruce (Picea mariana), and Blue Spruce (Picea pungens).
White Spruces are the most commonly found in Minnesota. They typically grow in dense, conical shapes and can reach heights of 80-100 feet.
Black Spruces are more commonly found in wetter, boggy areas and can grow up to 50 feet tall.
Blue Spruces have a silvery blue color that makes them popular for landscaping purposes. They typically grow up to 40 feet tall.
Tips and Advice for Selecting and Caring for Spruce Trees and Shrubs
- Plant spruce trees and shrubs in well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Avoid planting them in areas with standing water or poor drainage, as this can cause root rot.
- Water your newly planted spruce trees deeply but infrequently (once a week) to encourage deep rooting. In periods of extended drought, supplement natural rainfall with additional water.
- Prune spruce trees and shrubs in late winter or early spring before new growth begins to emerge. Remove dead or diseased branches, and thin out overly dense areas to allow for better air circulation.
- Fertilize your spruce trees and shrubs at least once a year, but avoid fertilizing in late summer or fall as this can encourage tender new growth that is susceptible to winter damage.
- Monitor your spruce trees and shrubs closely for signs of pest infestations or disease. Treat any problems quickly and appropriately to prevent long-term damage or death of the plants.
FAQs about Types of Spruce Trees and Shrubs:
What are the most popular types of spruce trees?
Some of the most popular varieties of spruce trees include white spruce, Norway spruce, Sitka spruce, black hill spruce, and Colorado blue spruce.
Are there any specific types of spruce trees that are suitable for cold climates?
Yes, Norway and white spruce trees are well-suited to cold climates and can tolerate temperatures down to -40 degrees F.
What types of shrubs are related to spruce trees?
Junipers and yews are related to spruce trees, as they all belong to the evergreen conifer family. They can be found in a variety of shapes and sizes, from small shrubs to large trees.
Are there any types of spruce trees or shrubs that produce edible fruits?
Yes, some varieties of juniper produce edible fruits. These berries are usually used in sauces and seasonings. Yews also produce small red berries which can be eaten raw or cooked.
Are there any specific types of spruce trees that are better suited to wet climates?
Norway and Sitka spruce trees are well-suited to wet climates, as they are tolerant of high levels of rainfall. Black hill spruces can also tolerate wet conditions, however they prefer drier climates.
How many different types of spruce trees are there?
There are over 35 species of spruce trees in the world. Some of the most common types are white spruce, Norway spruce, Sitka spruce, black hill spruce, and Colorado blue spruce.
Are there any specific types of shrubs that can tolerate windy conditions?
Junipers are one of the best types of shrubs for windy locations, as they have dense foliage and can withstand strong gusts. Yews are also suitable for windy spots, as long as they are planted in sheltered areas.