The White Spruce is native to the northern United States and Canada. The White Spruce is tolerant of cold winter weather and will grow as far north as trees can grow. Typically reaching heights of 45 – 75’, the White Spruce grows best on loamy or clay soils. Poor growth is usually exhibited on sandy soils. Even in Alaska White Spruce trees can reach heights of 40 – 70’ tall.
Due to its wide distribution, White Spruce can exhibit considerable geographic variations. It is typically an upright tree with a long, straight trunk and narrow crown. In the northern extent of its range it may only grow as a short, single-trunked tree. White Spruce will thrive best when grown in full sun, but can tolerate light shade. It provides both food and cover for wildlife and can be planted as an ornamental or used in shelterbelt plantings.
White Spruce needle color can range from yellow-green to bluish-green in color. They are about 0.75” long, stiff, and four-sided.
The light-brown cones of White Spruce are about 2” long and can be found in the upper branches of the tree. White Spruce may start producing cones at four years of age, but don’t usually start producing cones in large quantities until they reach 30 years of age.
The thin, scaly bark of White Spruce is ash-brown in color.
White Spruce naturally occurs in Alaska, Montana, Minnesota, Michigan, New York, and Maine. A popular selection, Black Hills Spruce (Picea glauca var. ‘Densata’), comes from an isolated population found in the Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming.