The White Spruce is a medium to fast growing (2ft plus) evergreen that has a light green or even bluish colored needles that are about 1 inch long. It has a strong evergreen smell when crushed and is one way to tell it from other spruce. It never drops its needles and can stay on for as long as 20 years. Its branches extend clear to the ground giving excellent low level wind protection. It is a native of the northern US and extending to the very end of the tree line in Canada.
It will grow up to 60+ ft tall and 20+ ft wide it is very wind firm with the large spreading root system and flexible tough wood. It can live 80+ years in windbreaks and most do. Due to its shape, heavy snow and ice storms cause little damage. Deer will not normally eat this species unless there is nothing else.
It will grow well in hardiness zones from 2-6 and some places in zone 6 can be too hot for this species in the summer. It does like a colder climate and does well in a variety of soils and quite well in clay soil and in higher PH soils up to 9. Does best in well-drained soil with a PH of 7.0 and lower. Can take more moisture and does well in level areas that can be too wet for other species in wet years.
The white spruce enjoys 20” or more of rainfall every year. It has few disease problems unless stressed. Fungal diseases rarely effect this species and insect pests rarely occur on newly planted, older, or stressed trees.
A 2’ tall potted tree should be over 8 ft tall in 5 years in good soil, with adequate moisture and most of all, total weed and grass control using herbicides, not mulch. Spacing- single row 16’apart, double row 18 ft apart, multiple rows 20ft or more apart with the trees staggered from the other row.
Here in Iowa and in most of the northern 1/3 of the US it is an excellent windbreak tree.