Like firs (Abies), spruces are pyramidal, with branches arranged in neat tiers. Unlike firs, however, they have pendent cones, and their needles are stiffer and attached to branches by small pegs that remain behind after the needles drop.
Most spruces are tall timber trees that lose their lower branches fairly early in life as they head upward; their canopies thin out noticeably as they age.
Many species have dwarf varieties useful for foundation plantings, in rock gardens, in containers; these plants have shallow root systems and so need a reasonably cool location. Spruces generally grow best where summers are cool or mild; they will not thrive in heat and humidity. Spruces have no special soil requirements.
Birds are attracted to these trees—both for seeds and for shelter. Check spruces for small, dull green aphids in winter; if they—re present, take control measures at that time to prevent defoliation in spring.
Pine needle scale (look for flat, white scale insects on needles) may encourage sooty mold. In Rocky Mountain states, spruces may be bothered by spider mites and tussock moths.Picea orientalis
Native to Caucasus, Asia Minor. Dense, compact, cone-shaped tree with very short needles; grows slowly to 50–60 ft. high, 20 ft.wide. Tolerates poor soils as long as they are well drained, but may suffer leaf burn in very cold, dry winds.
Compact grower with magenta to mauve flowers and good fall color.
To 8– 15 ft. tall and wide, with arching branches. Lobed, maplelike dark green leaves to 2&ndash
Native from central Europe to Siberia. To 1 1/2 ft. high, 1 ft.wide. Pale blue or white flowers i...