White Spruce

White spruce (Picea glauca) is not native to Iowa. It occurs quite widely over the northern portion of the Lake States, northern New England and much of Canada.  It has been planted quite extensively in Iowa for ornamental and windbreak use.  It does best in the eastern part of the state.

white spruce tree
White Spruce Tree - Photo by Bill Cook, Michigan State University, Bugwood.org

Hardiness: Zones 2 through 6

Growth Rate: Moderate

Mature Shape: Columnar, pyramidal shape

Height: 40-60 feet

Width: 10-20 feet

Site Requirements: Full sun

Flowering Dates: May

Seed Dispersal Dates: September

Seed Bearing Age: 30 years

Seed Bearing Frequency: Every 2 to 6 years

Seed Stratification: No stratification period is needed.

The needles are single, four-sided and crowded along the branches. They are 1/2 to 3/4 inches long; sharply pointed; and dark bluish green when mature.

The cone is 1 to 2 inches long, cylindrical, thin and flexible when mature.  The cone scales are rounded and soft at the ends.

The white spruce grows to about 60 feet tall. It is densely foliated and has a straight trunk.  The bark is dark gray or gray-brown in color. Its foliage and twigs are eaten by white-tailed deer.  The tree provides cover for many species of wildlife.

white spruce cones
White Spruce Fruit - Photo by Paul Wray, Iowa State University

purple, white spruce cone shaped flowers
White Spruce Flowers - Photo by Paul Wray, Iowa State University