The Norway spruce tree is one of the fastest growing varieties of evergreens, and only takes about three years to grow to Christmas tree height. Under good conditions, these trees can grow up to three feet a year for the first 25 years. They're also dense, making them a great choice for a privacy barrier or wind screen. The Norway spruce is hardy as well, and can withstand drought conditions. It easily adapts to different soil conditions and is considered to be the most disease-resistant of all the evergreen spruce trees. They prefer cool climates and excel in Growing Zones 2 to 7.
How to Buy a Norway Spruce
The way you would like to use the tree will depend on how you buy one. If you're looking to create a good windbreak in a short amount of time, then it's a better idea to buy larger, more established trees. If you have time to wait for the tree to grow, you can buy seedlings and grow them in your home until they're large enough to plant outside. The latter choice will take longer, but tends to be less expensive. Buy trees and seeds from established nurseries for the best selection.
Considerations when Planting a Norway Spruce
This species of evergreen spruce tree can grow to a height of well over 50 feet, so you'll need to make sure you have enough room for a mature tree before you plant it. Mature trees can have a trunk diameter of one to four feet. If you dislike cones, reconsider choosing a Norway spruce. They have the longest cones of any of the spruce tree species: three to seven inches. The seeds are also large, with a 15 mm pale brown wing attached to a five mm long black seed.
Give your freshly transplanted Norway spruce at least six weeks to develop before the first frost of the season. This will help the roots establish and increase the tree's ability to deal with harsh weather. Avoid planting the tree during dry weather, and try to plant it as soon as you bring it home from the nursery.
Special Care Tips
For the three initial growing seasons, feed the spruce a mild, slow-acting fertilizer in the form of tablets. An established tree only needs fertilizer two times a month during the spring and once a month in the summer. Norway spruce trees do not need fertilizer before they go into dormancy for the winter.
Weed control is important to the health of your tree while it's young. Weeds compete for water and nutrients, which can stunt the growth of the tree or destroy it. Regularly remove weeds, and add mulch to the base of the tree to keep them under control. The mulch will also retain moisture. Once the spruce is well-established, it can withstand competition from weeds.
Young Norway spruce trees are not naturally deer resistant. If you're concerned about deer nibbling on tender saplings, spray the trees with a deer repellent until it grows big enough.