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White Spruce

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SCIENTIFIC NAME: Picea glauca
FAMILY: Pinaceae

North to Alaska, south to Montana, Wyoming, Arkansas, Minnesota and New York. Introduced in 1700. The variety densata is found in the Black Hills and has slightly shorter needles the the species. The dwarf Alberta Spruce is a cultivar of Picea glauca.

This tree in Colorado White Spruce is one of the few trans-continental trees in North America. The spire-like shape, fine texture, and medium size make White Spruce a useful tree in our landscapes. It transplants easily and is adapted to the mountain west.

Hardiness White Spruce is very cold tolerant and can survive temperatures from Zones 2 to 6.

Growth rate and size 40′ to 60′, medium growth rate.

Growth habit Abroad, dense pyramid in youth, becoming tall, fairly narrow, dense spire, compact and regular, with horizontal to ascending branches.

Needles Persistent for several years, crowded on the upper side of the stem, pale green or dull blue-green, 1/2″ to 3/4″ long.

Cones Cones are three quarter to one inch in length when mature, bright green in color like the foliage. Male and female flowers are found on the same tree.

Bark Thin, flaky or scaly, ashy brown; freshly exposed layer somewhat silvery.

Insects and diseases The gall aphid does cause slight aesthetic damage, but not to the extent as on the other spruce.

Landscape value With the over-planting of Colorado Blue Spruce, this species can be used to diversify the landscape. It is a shade-tolerant tree and can be used as an infill planting near canopy shade trees.

Information sources
Michael Dirr, Manual of Woody Landscape Plants (University of Georgia, 1990)
Tim Buchanan, City of Fort Collins Forestry Division

Photo credits
Tim Buchanan, City of Fort Collins Forestry Division
Iowa State University