A spruce tree is a coniferous evergreen tree that comes from the genus Picea. There are approximately 35 different species of spruces that grow within the northern hemisphere. These coniferous evergreens are known to live to a very old age and can grow extremely tall, sometimes reaching heights of 200 feet (60.96 meters).
A spruce tree is called a coniferous evergreen because its needles stay green all year round and it bears cones that grow on the ends of the branches. The different types of spruces include the Norway spruce, the blue spruce, the white spruce and the black spruce. These trees can be found in dwarf versions as well. A dwarf spruce tends to grow slower and reach heights no taller than eight feet (2.44 meters).
Spruces may differ in color from one specimen to another. For instance, the blue spruce shows off a silver-blue color in its needles while the Norway spruce bears a deep, bright green color. The white spruce is known for having a white layer on the needles that feels waxy when touched. On the other hand, the black spruce exhibits very dark needles.
Spruce trees are usually planted in a landscaping format to provide a windbreak or a snow fence for a person's property. They are enjoyed as Christmas trees and leave the nice aroma of pine inside the house during the holiday season. Spruces, particularly the Norway spruce, are planted in forests to keep them thick, making an excellent habitat for a variety of wild animals.
This particular species of tree is often used to manufacture paper. The fibers within the spruce wood are long, making this wood ideal to use in paper manufacturing. The wood of the spruce tree can also be used to create various musical instruments and other wooden products.
The oils that are extracted from the leaves and branches of the spruce tree have been used to make spruce beer. Native Americans have found this type of tree very helpful in their lifestyle. They are known to use the roots of the tree to weave baskets and sometimes use the tree sap to produce a gum for them to chew. Large amounts of vitamin C can be found in the spruce needles. The needles can be eaten whole or boiled into a tea.
Not many problems are found when planting and growing spruce trees. The spruce beetle can be dangerous to the growth and survival of the spruce, along with the spider mite and the spruce gall aphid. However, problems with these insects are usually rare, and most spruces will grow without much hassle and remain disease-free.