Generally spruces are imposing trees of conical form that are superb specimen choices, and yet, being evergreen, also make the perfect backdrop against which other colorful trees and shrubs, such as maples and dogwoods, are displayed to their best advantage. And this is the reason spruces are so often the anchor for many northern gardens. And spruces are also one of the favorite trees to adorn the home at Christmas. And if one has an interest in a wild-life friendly garden then a spruce is a must-have tree with the seeds feeding birds and squirrels while deer and rabbits enjoy the young shoots. And finally, spruces have the most practical attribute of being excellent screens.

One of the most distinguished spruces is the White spruce, or Picea glauca. This tree is native to Canada and is found in all provinces which is why it is sometimes known simply as the Canadian spruce and is the provincial tree of Manitoba. This is a large evergreen which grows anywhere from 50 to 100 feet tall, and has even exceeded 130 feet. It forms a broad and pyramidal shape with attractive blue-green needles that possess a wonderful evergreen fragrance. And these needles are held so thickly on the branches that they make White spruce an superior wind-break. The purple and grey highlights to the bark give a silvery sheen that is also quite attractive.

Most spruce trees prefer moist sites, but White spruce is surprisingly drought tolerant making it a low maintenance choice. And while they are shade tolerant, they will grow more quickly and with better form if grown in full sun. And if the size poses a problem there are numerous cultivars of less than twenty feet available, making White spruce suitable for even smaller urban plots. Of course these superior cultivars are generally found only at the better plant nurseries.

White spruce


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