Be Aware, Norway Spruce Gets Big

For those of you who know plants you’re probably saying “well, duh”.

I have to admit that when I first started out in this business I did not fully appreciate plant growth and “mature size” as much as I do today.  If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times, “nothing teaches like experience”.

We may think we know what size potential a plant may have, but somehow we convince ourselves it will work in a particular situation. Then you drive by that job ten years later and you get a whole new understanding of that plant’s potentialOoops! I’ll never use that plant like that again!

Norway Spruce (Picea abies) is a large growing, pyramidal, needled evergreen. In its younger stages Norway Spruce appears stiff & rigid, but in its mature years it becomes more graceful.

Site the plant with plenty of room to grow both in height & width. This “beast” will get to be 60’+ in fifty years – no problem.

The picture above illustrates an appropriate use of Norway Spruce as an evergreen screen. Here the plant has enough room to grow to its natural size and accomplish what it was chosen to do…screen. (Click on the pictures to enlarge if you’d like.)

Norway Spruce prefers sunlight, and although it will tolerate partial sun, it tends to get thinner with less light.

A moist, well-drained soil is ideal. If the soil is heavy (clay and/or compacted) and stays too wet (watch those automatic sprinkler systems!), this spruce will decline.

Norway Spruce can be bothered by certain pests. For example: spruce gall aphid can appear which produces an obvious cone-like gall on the branches – as much as possible of this should be pruned out. I’ve also seen spider mites, budworm and borers on Norway Spruce.

As always, a well-sited & properly maintained plant is the best defense against any pests or problems.

  • Sal Bauta
    11:58 PM, 16 April 2018

    I have a very long, 500’ Property line that I would like to screen using Norway Spruce. I was told that I should plant 11’/12’ about 25’-30’ feet on center & 5’-8’ from the Property Line. Any advise will be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you,
    Sal Bauta

    • Roger
      12:21 PM, 17 April 2018

      25-30′ spacing is ideal for Norway Spruce. You’re providing room for future growth and where each spruce will eventually touch one another. I’d love to see this border planting as it develops! 🙂

      With regard to 5-8′ from the property line, that’s OK if you and your neighbor are in agreement the spruce will eventually grow over that line. Anticipate mature width of each plant at 25-30′. This means a growth radius (from plant center) of around 12-15′.

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