Black Spruce - 2 year old, 5-10" Seedlings

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Black Spruce 2 year old, 5-10" seedlings

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Black Spruce

Picea mariana

The Black Spruce is a medium sized tree with a narrow shape like a church spire.  This conifer exhibits dense foliage with very short, blue-green needles and brownish gray bark that is thin and scaly.   Small violet colored cones are produced and sit upright until fertilization.  As the cones mature, they will turn dark brown and begin to hang downward.  The Black Spruce has pleasant year round color that makes this evergreen attractive even in the winter.  This selection does particularly well in low or wetter areas although it will grow in your upland areas too.  The Black Spruce will do best in full sun but is very shade tolerant.  Naturally deer resistant.

  • Zones
    2 to 6
  • Soil Type
    Fine Clay, Loam & Sandy soils
  • Site Selection
    Full Sun to Shade
  • Mature Height & Width
    40-50' Height and 8-12' Spread
  • Growth Rate
    Slow Growth - 12" or less each year
  • Moisture Requirements
    Does best in wetter soils but will grow in upland areas too

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The Black Spruce is also known as the Bog Spruce or Swamp Spruce due to its natural occurrence in wetter soils.  This is a great choice for those low or wet areas on your woodlot.  Commonly associated in the wild with Balsam Fir, Paper Birch, Tamarack, White Pine, White Spruce and Quaking Aspen.  Try this conifer out to diversify your forest acreage.    

Fun Facts:  Chewing gum is made from Black Spruce resin.  Spruce beer was made by boiling the branch tips.

Common Uses:

  • Naturalizing wet areas
  • Good wildlife value
  • Used for pulp and paper making

Many birds use the tree as a nesting site and small woodland mammals take shelter in its dense foliage.  In low areas and bogs, Black Spruce trees serve as song perches for territorial male songbirds.  Common wildlife species that inhabit spruce bogs include white-tailed deer, snowshoe hares, bobcats, black bears, mink frog, bog turtles, white-throated sparrows, ovenbirds, red-eyed vireos, Nashville warblers, and common yellowthroats.  The Spruce Grouse depends on the Black Spruce for most of its habitat needs.  

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