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