Spruce, Black Hills Picea glauca var. densata
Ornamental evergreen with bright green to bluish needles. Dense, conical in shape, ideal in windbreaks or screens. Slow growing. Mature height of 30'-60' with 15'-25' spread. (zones 2-6)Pricing Information
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Hardiness Zones 2 - 6The Black Hills Spruce can be expected to grow in the zones shown in color in the arborday.org zone map. View Map
Type of treeEvergreens
Mature HeightThe Black Hills Spruce grows to be 30' - 60' feet in height.
Mature SpreadThe Black Hills Spruce has a spread of about 15' - 25' at full maturity.
SunThis spruce does well in full sun, partial shade.
The Black Hills spruce grows in acid, moist, gravelly or sandy loam, fine clay soils.
ShapeThis spruce has pyramidal shape.
The Black Hills spruce is a good yard or ornamental tree. This evergreen has a conical form, compact, dense, ascending branches, and deep green colored needles. It is a tough tree for difficult sites. It is adapted to cold and is very resistant to winter injury. The Black Hills spruce can be used as a windbreak and shelterbelt, privacy screen, accent planting, group plantings in recreation areas and public grounds, Christmas tree. It requires little pruning.
A large evergreen tree with a central trunk and dense, ascending, lateral branches from the ground up that form a broad pyramidal to conical crown. It varies from the typical white spruce in its denser, more compact habit and slower growth rate. It has a shallow, fiberous, wide spreading root system. The thin bark is ashy gray or brown, shallowly fissured and separated into thin flaky scales. The needles are individually attached, and foliage color varies from deep green to blue green. The brown cylindrical cones appear in late July and may persist on the tree into January. It is better adapted than the white spruce. It grows best in acidic, moist loams with full sun, but adapts to a variety of conditions including shade, drought, hot and cold. It is flood intolerant and sensitive to soil compaction.
The Black Hills spruce provides nesting sites for birds and makes a good winter cover. The seeds provide food for songbirds, upland ground birds, small mammals, the bark food for porcupines. The foliage is lightly browsed by deer.
The Black Hills spruce is a naturally occurring variety of the white spruce. It is native from New Foundland to Alaska, south to Maine, northern New York and Michigan, northern Minnesota, northwest Montana, the Black Hills of South Dakota and adjacent Wyoming. It is the state tree of South Dakota. Plains Indians used the inner bark and shoots for food, the hardened sap for gum. They collected the spruce wood for tipi poles. The soft wood is used for dimension lumber, pulp, boxes, and crates.
The Black Hills spruce prefers moist, well drained soil, but will tolerate dry, well drained sites.The Black Hills spruce prefers moist, well drained soil, but will tolerate dry, well drained sites.
The needles are single, somewhat rigid, sharply pointed, spirally arranged on the branches, 1/3"-3/4", dark green to blue green.
Male is tan to pale red, female is greenish to purplish
The cones are tan brown, 1"-2" long, rounded smooth margin on the scales. The cones mature in a single season and may persist on the tree into mid-January.
Rate of growth refers to the vertical increase in growth unless specified differently. Rate, as is true for size, is influenced by numerous variables such as soil, drainage, water, fertility, light, exposure, ad infinitum. The designation slow means the plant grows 12” or less per year; medium refers to 13 to 24” of growth per year; and fast to 25” or greater.Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, by Michael Dirr.