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Tree of the Week • Norway Spruce

Did you know that the big tree at the Rockefeller Center every year is a Norway Spruce? Learn more!

Norway Spruce

Picea abies

Norway Spruce evergreen

Fastest growing of the spruces. Develops strong graceful branches that are covered with dark green needles. Ideal windbreaker. Matures at 60′; 25′ spread.

Hardiness Zones

The Norway spruce can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 3–7. View Map

Mature Size

The Norway spruce grows to a height of 40–60′ and a spread of 25–30′ at maturity.

Growth Speed Medium to Fast

Growth Rate

This tree grows at a medium to fast rate, with height increases of anywhere from 13″ to more than 24″ per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun is the ideal condition for this tree, meaning it should get at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The Norway spruce grows in acidic, loamy, moist, sandy, well-drained and clay soils. It has some drought tolerance.


This tree:

  • Is the fastest growing of the spruces.
  • Is easy to transplant.
  • Can be planted on a wide variety of sites.
  • Works well for windbreaks.
  • Features dark green needles that are roughly ½–1″ in length and feel square when rolled between your fingers.
  • Yields light brown, stiffly scaled, 4–6″ cones that sit upright on the branch until fertilized. Once fertilized, they gradually turn downward.
  • Grows in a pyramidal shape.
  • Can begin to look a little unkempt in its old age.

Wildlife Value

Norway spruce trees support a wide variety of wildlife. They are important as winter cover for deer and small game including grouse, hare and woodcock. Song birds and fur bearers also frequent these forest types. Norway spruce also makes a good roosting tree for hawks and owls.


The Norway spruce hails from Europe. And while this species does grow in Norway, the name is a bit of a misnomer. This tree grew in Eurasia, the Black Forest and other parts of the continent long before making its way to Norway around 500 B.C.

As people emigrated, they often brought trees with them from the Old Country to plant as ornamentals on new homesteads.


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