The Norway spruce traces its origins to the high, cold mountain ranges of northern Europe. As a testament to its hardiness and ability to withstand cold climates it is often found at up to 6,000 foot elevations. It was first discovered in the Thuringian Forest in Germany in the early 1900s. Outside of its natural habitat the Norway Spruce is prized primarily as an ornamental tree in urban and suburban gardens with limited space, as well as on commercial properties where landscaping space can be minimal.
Even though the Spruce can grow to heights of 50 feet or more the tree still has an impressive spread of up to 25 feet in diameter, with multiple branches full of soft inch-long, slightly curved needles. The bright green new growth gives way to a darker blue/green color as the branch matures. Its narrow shape and tight branching, coupled with its exceptionally fast growth rate of nearly a foot a year, means this particular species will settle in and quickly improve your landscape in any situation. In ideal locations and with minimal care, the Norway Spruce can be expected to live for well over 50 years.
The Norway Spruce prefers moist soils and has a high tolerance for both alkaline and acidic soils. It will also tolerate harder clay as well as soft sandy areas. It fares best in full sun and can tolerate mild to moderate droughts relatively well. Norway Spruce varieties love the cooler temperatures of the higher zones, up to zone 7, but can also enjoy the warmer zones, down to zone 2. The tree’s branches and compact formation help ensure that it can endure heavy winters with a lot of snowfall, as well as surviving extremely cold temperatures. The design of the tree’s branches also aids it in maintaining its conical shape under a load of snow. As you can see, the Norway Spruce is a prime choice for areas that may not have the mildest conditions; this can help make your landscape planning much easier.
Because of the Norway Spruce’s dense foliage they do attract a multitude of wildlife, including birds and other small animals. Larger animals like deer and antelope do not seem to bother the Norway spruce. This particular spruce branches very closely to the ground so it isn’t particularly suitable for larger animals seeking shelter or protections from the elements. However, the low branching and their tight structure of dense needles do make the Norway Spruce a wonderful solution for creating windbreaks, or a wall of natural privacy along a property boundary, by grouping them together or in a line. You will want to be mindful not to place other plants too closely to the Norway Spruce as its diameter may prevent those plants from growing in the future.
Norway Spruce requires very little maintenance both in nature and in landscaping practices. You can let nature take its course and the tree will grow as if it were in the wild. However, if you are an avid gardener with some time to dedicate to the tree’s upkeep, you will find great joy in pruning it to be aesthetically appealing. Even then there will not be a lot of work involved as the Norway Spruce is great at maintaining its shape. Otherwise, the only time pruning will be necessary is to trim back new growth during the current season or to remove any dead or dying branches.
You might also recognize the Norway Spruce’s color and form in another context; they are commonly used as a focal point during holidays like Christmas or the Winter Solstice. You may have had a smaller specimen in your own home at one time or another while you were growing up. Wouldn’t it be great to bring that holiday cheer to your very own yard? Imagine your children’s eyes as they light up on the first day of snow and see the beautiful Norway Spruce covered in a gentle dusting glittering in the morning sunlight. If you are a celebrant of these holidays you can get many years of visual enjoyment from this tree. You’ll be able to create your own personal winter wonderland.
The Norway Spruce is also an ideal choice if you are interested in starting your very own Christmas tree business to run during the holiday months. Their minimal maintenance and speedy growth rate can yield beautiful specimens and earn you a healthy return.
Adding this elegant and shapely conifer to the landscape of your property, whether residential or commercial, will bring you a lot of enjoyment. Its tall vertical reaches and ability to fit into smaller spaces make it a highly versatile and beautiful addition in almost any situation. Whether you are placing it along your property’s boundary to create a dense privacy wall, or using it to enhance a smaller country garden that is lacking a large focal plant, this tree will fit your needs perfectly.