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Black Spruce

Plant Type: Evergreen, bare-root

Zones:  2-6

Soil Type:  Loamy & Sandy Soils

Site Selection: Full Sun, Partial Sun, Shade

Mature Height & Width:  40-50' Height and 8-12' Spread

Growth Rate:  Slow - 8-12" per year once established

Moisture Requirements: Average to wet soils

Plant Characteristics
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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. Until fertilization, the small violet-colored cones are in an upright position. 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 upland areas too. The Black Spruce will do best in full sun but is very shade tolerant. Naturally deer resistant.

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 boughs serve as perches for territorial male songbirds.  Common wildlife species that inhabit spruce bogs include white-tailed deer, snowshoe hares, bobcats, black bears, mink, frogs, 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.