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Honesty is the best policy - when there is money in it.
Mark Twain

White Spruce

Picea glauca

White spruce is our native 'pine tree' as the boys at the school refer to everything with needles. White comes from the wood, not the tree itself.

White spruce, like Colorado spruce often has resin beads on needles, but not as many. Lots of individuals have a blue-green cast to the needles.

White spruce grow fairly fast, and in our climate the survival rate of seedlings pushed into the ground is high enough that it's commercially viable to do so. All of the white spruce I get are 'overruns' from seedlings contract grown by the big forestry companies. They've been selected for fast growth.

White spruce make good shelterbelts. Good row trees because of the fairly uniform color. They go through a gawky stage from about 4 feet to about 10 feet. Before that they look cute, after that they look, well, spruce.

Like all spruce little grows underneath. In a yard it looks tidier to trim the dead branches from under the tree. You can get a neater appearance by taking off just enough of the lower branches so that you can run the lawn mower under the edge.

While spruce are green to green-blue near by, from a distance they are nearly black. It took me a long time to figure this out. When you are close you look at the branch, and ignore the space between the branches. But that space between gets almost no sunlight. Average a lot of dark shadow with greeny blue foliage and the result is a 'midnight green'

I've never ordered white spruce. I figured that something this common in the natural landscape had little appeal. I had a bunch that a local Junior Forest Warden group had abandoned. -- Their planting day had got rained out, and a third of the people didn't show. I ended up with a half box of white spruce. I planted them mostly because it seemed a waste not to, and what the heck: A scant hundred trees was not even an afternoon.

They didn't sell at the farmer's market. A young white spruce is a gangly looking thing. Much like the grade nine basketball player down the street.
6 foot 3 and 137 pounds. I had sold about 6 and had 80 some at the pot yard.
Gentleman came in from Drayton Valley. He wanted them all.
Probably would have taken 20 more if I had them.

It never rains but it pours. A month later, I had a reclamation company ask for 300 white spruce. I've ordered seedlings in for this year. They'll be in 1 litre blocks ready for a new home come fall. And I know a place where they are naturally seeding that can use some thinning. I'll pot them up, water them like crazy. If they are still alive in August you can buy them then.

Light: Full sun to light shade.

Soil: Most soils. Doesn't do well on sandy very quick draining soils. Doesn't do well on soil that is saturated for more than a few weeks in spring. Tolerates alkaline soil.

Recommended: Shelterbelts, boulevards, specimen


Got something to say? Email me: sfinfo@sherwoods-forests.com

Want to talk right now? Talk to me: (8 am to 9 pm only, please) 1-780-848-2548


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Copyright © 2008 - 2017 S. G. Botsford

Sherwood's Forests is located about 75 km southwest of Edmonton, Alberta. Please refer to the map on our Contact page for directions.