Planting a spruce tree is the perfect way to spruce up your landscape. These tall conifer trees with evergreen needles can instantly add an aesthetic appeal to your home thanks to their abundant natural beauty throughout the year. In fact, nothing screams yuletide cheer more than spruce tree varieties in Pacific Northwest yards.
But we understand how difficult it can be to choose from all the spruce tree varieties that grow well in Oregon, especially if you are still taking baby steps in the world of gardening and landscaping. Luckily for you, the experts at Mr. Tree are here to provide useful insights and make it easy for you to choose.
1. Blue Spruce
While the blue spruce isn’t native to Oregon, it is definitely one of the widely cultivated trees across North America, and it grows just fine in Oregon yards. The blue needles, a standout feature of this tree, can elevate the look of any property.
Arborists recommend rich and moist soil for its optimal growth. But luckily, the blue spruce is highly adaptable and grows well in a variety of soil types. It’s also more drought-tolerant compared to other species. Typically, a blue spruce tree reaches a height of 30 to 70 feet, making it an ideal choice for large, open spaces. But if space is a constraint, you can also plant smaller blue spruces, which only grow to 5 to 15 feet.
Caring for blue spruce is fairly straightforward. Only the first season requires regular watering. For subsequent seasons, watering during dry spells is sufficient. Adding regular mulch is recommended to prevent root rot.
Thanks to their deep root system, blue spruces can withstand harsh winds and act as a windbreak. It can also double as a nesting site for birds. Many landscapers recommend blue spruces for creating privacy in your yard. Simply plant them in a row and watch their unique structure do the job.
2. Sitka Spruce
The Sitka spruce is native to the Pacific Northwest and is valued for its soft but strong wood. In fact, Oregon’s own Klootchy Creek Giant, a 200-foot, 750-year-old Sitka spruce, was the largest known tree in the United States until a storm uprooted it in 2007. Now its stump is just as iconic.
There are a number of reasons why the Sitka spruce thrives in Oregon. It loves a mild climate with heavy annual rainfall and cool but wet summers. It can also tolerate both shade and salt spray, which means they grow well in the soil around Oregon’s ocean dunes and coastal beaches.
The tree has a straight trunk along with a flared base, which becomes more prominent as the tree matures. The crown is conical, and the branches are located at horizontal angles. You will also find oblong cones with paper-thin scales situated close to the tree’s top. The absence of branches in the lowest portion of the tree is a common occurrence as they age. Bluish-green needles are a characteristic feature of this tree, and they’re arranged spirally along the twigs. The needles are stiff, sharp, and slightly flattened.
3. Engelmann Spruce
Named after George Engelmann, a physician from St. Louis, Colorado, the Engelmann spruce is native to the southern parts of Oregon. The four-sided needles are a characteristic feature of this tree. It also has a spire-like crown that grows up to 160 feet tall. It can survive for over a hundred years and achieve a towering appearance if provided favorable growing conditions.
Deep, rich, and moist soil is ideal for supporting the Engelmann spruce’s optimal growth. You can find it thriving under established forests with trees such as aspen or lodgepole because of its ability to tolerate shade.
It is also valued for its high-quality lumber and paper pulp. Since the roots are fibrous, they can be used for making ropes. Native Americans used the barks and roots to weave baskets and canoes. There is also evidence of Aboriginals using various parts of the tree to make medicinal teas, poultices, incense, and cleansing agents.
4. Brewer Spruce
This rare and unusual spruce grows in southwestern Oregon and can be easily recognized thanks to its drooping branchlets. It is named after William Henry Brewer, an American botanist who discovered the species. Many arborists also call it the weeping spruce because the drooping twigs remind one of a weeping willow.
It is a slow-growing evergreen tree with an open crown and low branches. Unlike the other varieties of spruce, the needles of the Brewer spruce aren’t thick or sharp. They are spread out on all sides of the twig. The cones of the Brewer spruce are much larger compared to the cones of Engelmann and Sitka spruces. Moreover, the cones have scales with smooth edges.
The tree requires full sunlight and does well in sandy, loamy, and heavy soils, even if they are nutritionally poor. While strong winds are fine, exposure to marine weather conditions can inhibit the growth of Brewer spruce.
Heavy and close-grained wood harvested from Brewer spruce is widely used in the pulp industry to produce paper.
5. Norway Spruce
Even though the Norway spruce is native to northern and central Europe, it thrives well in Oregon. It is one of the most popular spruce tree varieties in the world.
It is characterized by its dark green needles, which are blunter than on other spruces. The cones start off green and become redder as the tree matures. The long, cylindrical cones hang like ornaments from its branches, giving it the appearance of a Christmas tree. In fact, it is even known as the “Christmas tree” in Britain.
It prefers acidic and moist but well-drained soil. It also prefers full sunlight for at least six hours a day.
Which Spruce Tree Should I Get for My Yard?
Now that you have learned about the different varieties of spruce trees you can consider for Oregon, it’s time to bring home one.
Unsure which one is best suited for your property? Our experienced team at Mr. Tree is here to help. As a local tree service company, we can tell you exactly what you need and even help you with the care and maintenance of your tree. So give us a call today and get ready to spruce things up.