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White Spruce

Picea glauca

Hardiness Zones: 2 - 6   View Map
  • Transplants readily
  • Can withstand wind, heat, cold, drought, crowding, and some shade
  • Works well in cities and rural windbreaks
  • Is widely used as a Christmas tree
  • Features slightly curved, pale green needles that are roughly ½–¾" in length and crowded on the upper side of the stem
  • Yields slender, cylindrical cones that are light brown in color and 1½–2½" long with flexible scales
  • Grows in a pyramidal shape, becoming more columnar with age

Tree Details



Growth Speed


Scientific Name

Picea glauca

Mature Height

40' - 60'

Mature Spread

10' - 20'

Shipping Height

1 1⁄2' - 2'


This has often been heralded as a beautiful tree, whether lining the banks of a North Country river or gracing someone’s front yard. But the white spruce is more than just a pretty face. Commercially it is a mainstay of the pulp and paper industry and well-used for construction lumber. In landscape, it is a lovely specimen tree or grouping, a sturdy option for windbreaks and buffer strips, and a great visual screen.

Sun Preference

Full Sun

Soil Preference

Acidic, Clay, Drought, Loamy, Moist, Sandy, Well Drained

Wildlife Value

Besides providing nesting sites and shelter, white spruces provide food for many kinds of wildlife. Crossbills, evening grosbeaks and red-breasted nuthatches prefer the seeds. The foliage is eaten by grouse, rabbits and deer. Red squirrels cut open cones to eat the seeds, and they feast upon young, tender spruce shoots. The bark is enjoyed by both porcupines and black bears, sometimes to the detriment of the trees.


When Jacques Cartier sailed up the broad St. Lawrence River in 1535, he became the first European to see North America’s white spruces. As he laid claim to the lands he beheld, he proclaimed them to be “as beautiful…as one could wish for.” The trees, he said, were “the finest trees in the world.”

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