Picea rubens (Red Spruce) - 1 Qt Super Plugs
Available June 2020
Red spruce (Picea rubens) is a coniferous evergreen tree in the Spruce family. Native to Eastern North America, this tree is common in New England and at higher elevations in the Appalachian Mountains through Tenessee and North Carolina. Red spruce is a long-lived, shade-tolerant tree, typically sprouting in mature forests and growing slowly in the understory until disturbance frees up canopy space above. Red spruce is the longest-lived of the Eastern Spruces.
Our Picea rubens New York strain is from the Adirondack Mtns. New York seed source, and is ideal for higher elevation habitats throughout the Appalachians.
Our Picea rubens Nova Scotia strain is from a seed orchard in Coastal Nova Scotia, and is preferable for lowland areas in New England.
Red spruce is a highly vaulable tree - It is one of the most important lumber trees in the Northeast, being mixed with white and black spruce as "eastern spruce". With its light density, clear straight grain, and resonant qualities, Red Spruce is highly preferable for musical instruments. Red spruce is also used by the paper pulp industry.
Red spruce is an important wildlife species - Many animals rely on spruce groves for winter shelter, and hares and grouse browse the buds and young growth. Red Spruce seeds are eaten by Red-Breasted Nuthatches, Crossbills, Pine Siskins, and other seed-eating birds. Red spruce is reported to be unpalatable to white-tailed deer - An excellent evergreen tree in areas with high deer populations!
Cultivation/ Growing Information
Red spruce is said to be slow-growing and difficult to cultivate in common literature; However, we have grown it easily enough here at GreenTec Nursery in Central Indiana. Red spruce grows best in areas with cool summer temperatures and high rainfall; It is widely adaptable to different soil types. It is typically found on gravely soils and muck soils; However, it achieves its best form on the well-drained, organic soils of the Southern Appalachians. In the garden or landscape, Red Spruce grows best in moist, well-drained soils, although it will tolerate slightly boggy or clay soils. (No standing water)
Red Spruce is an excellent medium-sized evergreen for windbreaks, grouping, naturalizing, and specimen planting. Though uncommon in the landscape, Red Spruce makes a beautiful specimen, with full, dense growth and an excellent tiered structure. Space 8-15 feet apart for naturalizing and windbreaks; To allow full natural growth, space at least 15 to 30 feet apart.
Red Spruce is best planted in early Autumn, preferably with at least 8 weeks of frost-free weather for establishment. Spring is the second-best time; However, in the North, soils can be frigid late into the spring, hampering root development.
GreenTec Nursery's Red Spruce are grown in fabric RootMaker containers, yielding excellent, healthy root systems. To plant, dig a hole 3 times the width of the rootball, and only as deep as the rootball. (Soil will settle over time, so it is important to plant at the correct depth - If in doubt, plant high) Water well; do not tamp the soil. If the weather is dry, the plants will need watering once a week.
Red Spruce can be a bit slow-growing at first; However, it is capable of growing 1 foot or more a year in good conditions.