Growing Zone: 3 – 8
Mature Height: 45 to 55 feet
Mature width: 20 to 25 feet
Classification: Conifer / Evergreen
Sunlight: Partial to Full Sun
Habit: Densely branched, Cone Shaped, fast growing
Flower Color: Inconspicuous
Pruning Season: Prune in late spring to maintain shape
Soil Condition: Any well drained soil
Water Require: Water well until established.
Uses: Extremely attractive when used as in the mixed border, foundations, or planted in mass.
Does Not Ship To: CA, WA, OR, AZ
The Norway Spruce is a large, pyramidal tree with long, cylindrical cones that hang like ornaments from the weeping branches against the dark green foliage. This sun-loving, 45 to 50 foot tall tree is often used for windbreaks, screens, or hedges in large-scale landscapes.
Planting Norway Spruce:
We suggest when planting your newly purchased Norway Spruce that you dig a hole twice as wide as the root system but not deeper. Depending on the quality of your existing soil you may need to add a locally sourced compost or topsoil to the back-fill soil. We do not recommend using straight topsoil or compost as a back-fill soil because more times than not these products will retain entirely to much moisture and will cause the root system to rot. Adding compost or topsoil will help the young feeder roots of Norway Spruce to spread through the loose, nutrient rich soil, much easier than if you used solely the existing soil which more times than not will be hard and compacted. The most common cause of plant death after transplanting is planting the new plant to deep. That is why we do not recommend planting in a hole any deeper than the soil line of the plant in the pot. A good rule is that you should still be able to see the soil the plant was grown in after back-filling the hole. Bio-tone starter fertilizer is a great starter fertilizer that provides plants with mycorrhizae fungus. It is a naturally occuring beneficial fungus that colonizes on the new growing roots of plants. It creates a barrier between the roots of the plant and fungus and pathogens that can cause root rot. We love this product and use it on all plants we install in our own gardens. Bio-tone is a gardeners best friend and can help guarantee your success.
Watering Norway Spruce:
After back filling and lightly compacting the 50/50 mix of existing soil and compost give the Norway Spruce a good deep watering. This is not to be rushed. Most of the water you put on the plant at first will run away from the plant until the soil is soaked. A general rule of thumb is to count to 5 for every one gallon of pot size. For example a one gallon pot would be watered until you count to 5 a three gallon pot would be 15 and so on. Check the plant daily for the first week or so and then every other day there after. Water using the counting method for the first few weeks. You’ll want to water the bushes regularly after planting until they’ve been well established. We like to tell folks that when watering Spruce or any plant for that matter its best not to water the foliage of the plant. Water at the base of the plant near the soil line only. Gator bag Jr. can be used to help aid in this process and also provide plants with a good soaking due to the slow release of the water into the root-zone of the plant. Soaker Hoses can also be used to water when planting a long hedge.
Fertilizing Norway Spruce:
Plants such as Norway Spruce grow best if they are fertilized once in the spring and again in early summer. Norway Spruce favors nutrient rich soil and ample fertilization. Norway Spruce benefits from an fertilizer which can help raise the acid level of the soil such as Holly-Tone by Espoma. When selecting a fertilizer for your Norway Spruce, if soil Ph is not an issue a simple balanced fertilizer can be used such as Tree-tone.
Either chemical fertilizers or organic matter can be used successfully. Since an organic method of applying manure and/or compost around the roots, produces excellent results and also improves the condition of the soil, this would be an excellent first line of attack. Organic additions to the soil can also be combined with a shot of chemical fertilizer for maximum effect.
If you choose to use chemical fertilizers on your Norway Spruce, applying a slow-release, balanced fertilizer once a year in the spring is probably the simplest solution. There are many slow-release fertilizers on the market. If you can find a fertilizer formulated for shrubs and trees, this fertilizer would work well on Norway Spruce. However, slow-release is certainly not the only way to fertilize Spruce such as Norway Spruce although truth be told I feel its the best. A less expensive fast release fertilizer such as a 10-10-10 will work just as well if applied twice during the summer. If you are looking for a fertilizing routine tailored to your specific conditions, a soil sample should be taken and the fertilizer and trace elements matched to the needs of your soil.
Don’t fertilize Norway Spruce after August in the North. Fall is the time for spruce to begin preparing for dormancy. Fertilizing at this time may stimulate new growth that will be too tender to withstand the winter. In the South, a late summer into September application would be about right. As mentioned one spring application of a balanced fertilizer should more than suffice.
The amount of chemical fertilizer used per plant will vary with the size of the plant and it’s root system. Over-fertilization can be much more detrimental than under-fertilization. “Fertilizer burn” can occur when too much fertilizer is applied, resulting in a drying out of the roots and damage or even death of the Spruce. It is much, much better to err on the side of too little fertilizer than too much. When roots are burned, the first sign is often scorched looking leaves. If over-fertilization is severe, the plant may just wilt and die.
Norway Spruce is very easy to grow however it may be helpful to know that a very small plant which is planted in the ground will take about 1/8 – 1/4 cup of espoma organic shrub-tone fertilizer. When fertilizing Spruce grown in containers, be careful to apply a fertilizer that will not burn the roots (such as a slow release or a liquid fertilizer). A very large established Spruce in the ground will take 2 – 3 cups of holly-tone spread around the drip line of the branches (not next to the trunk). This is a very loose estimate, so please read the directions on the fertilizer before applying it.
Never fertilize a plant with a chemical fertilizer if the plant looks sick or wilted. If a plant is struggling due to a disease or root problems, the fertilizer will only add stress to it’s life. Try to cure the problem before adding fertilizer.
For a totally organic approach, many gardeners use commercial manure on the soil around trees such as Norway Spruce. Excellent results have been reported by visitors to this site after using composted manure. Commercial manure or compost can be applied once in the spring around the base of the Baby Blue Spruce. As with chemical fertilizers, do not apply it right next to the trunk or stems emerging from the ground.
Understanding Fertilizer Labels:
When looking at most fertilizers, they are described by three numbers on the bag. An example would be 10-10-10 or 12-4-8. The first of these three numbers refers to Nitrogen, which is the primary element necessary for good, balanced growth within the Spruce. Plants that are deficient in Nitrogen are usually not growing vigorously, and sometimes exhibit pale colored foliage. Not all Nitrogen deficiencies result in stunted growth. Sometimes, the growth is taller and longer with less than desirable branching when Nitrogen is deficient. The second number in the fertilizer equation is representative of Phosphorus. A deficiency of Phosphorus may affect the energy transfer in the plant, and result in stunted growth as well. Also, plants with insufficient amounts of Phosphorus may have poorer root systems. Potassium is the element represented by the third number on the fertilizer bag. Plants that are deficient in Potassium, are usually growing more slowly than normal, have fewer flowers and seed, and are more susceptible to disease than plants with adequate levels of Potassium. Although the three elements just mentioned are the major elements necessary for good plant performance, there some minor elements that are just as important in consideration of Spruce nutrition.
Minor elements that are not included in the three numbers listing on the front of fertilizer bags are very important considerations when choosing your fertilizer. Elements such as Magnesium, Sulfur, Calcium, Iron, Manganese, Copper, Zinc, Boron, and Molybdenum play very important roles in providing plants with adequate nutrition. Many times, less expensive fertilizers are sold that contain only the major elements needed, but not the minor elements. Always be sure to look on the fertilizer label on the back of the bag to see exactly what is included in the fertilizer.
In choosing the basic type of fertilizer for your Norway Spruce, it is important to determine what you need your Holly to do. If your plants are well established, and you are not concerned about more growth, choose a fertilizer that has a smaller first number, and a larger second and third number.
When you have selected your fertilizer and are ready to apply it, be sure to rake your mulch back to the drip line of each plant. Apply the fertilizer according to the label directions immediately on top of the soil, and be sure to water the plant thoroughly after the application. You can then rake the mulch back around the base of the Baby Blue Spruce. Although it is tempting to spend less time by not raking the mulch back during fertilization, the results will be less than desirable, if the fertilizer is applied on top of the mulch.
Proper fertilization of your Norway Spruce will lead to healthier and more disease resistant plants, as well as provide you with many more enjoyable blooms. Always, read the label on your fertilizer bag, and follow the instructions.
Mulching Norway Spruce:
We highly recommend that you mulch your Norway Spruce with either a ground hardwood mulch or a ground cypress mulch depending on your local availability. Any type of mulch will do but cypress or hardwood mulch will be of a higher quality and provide better nutrition overall as they breakdown. Mulching helps to keep weeds away which will compete with your new investment for water and nutrients. A 2 to 3 inch layer of mulch is sufficient but remember to take care not to cover any part of the stem of the plant with mulch. Its better to leave a one inch gap of space between the mulch and the stem or trunk of the plant.
Pruning Norway Spruce:
Norway Spruce is an evergreen that should be pruned in the late spring to maintain the shape and height of the plant.
In general gardening terms, pruning is probably the most misunderstood gardening chore, and certainly, the chore that is most likely neglected. When we specifically look at pruning with regards to Spruce, this misunderstanding and negligence can be magnified.
Pruning has been described as a “combination of art and science.” I personally find pruning to be one of the most relaxing yet rewarding chores in the garden. Pruning a specific plant to look a specific way, involves art in creating a unique definition for a specific plant, and it involves science in understanding the physical growing habits of the plant to be pruned.
The most important reason for pruning Norway Spruce is to improve the overall health of the plant which in turn will reward you with a flush of new growth. Removing the dead and dying limbs will minimize the possibility of diseases such as “die back” and will also allow the plant to re-concentrate its energies and produce many more foliage.
The main reason for pruning laurels such as Norway Spruce is to re-define the plant’s definition within the landscape. Many times, a plant may outgrow its intended size in the landscape, and must be pruned to re-define its purpose. Pruning should always be associated with re-invigorating a plant by allowing it to focus its energies on producing more vigorous branches, foliage, and flowers.
It is important to always use sharp tools when pruning Norway Spruce or any plant for that matter. Knives, hand cutters, saws, and shears should be sharpened if necessary before pruning any plants. A sharp cut will heal quicker than a jagged cut, which will also minimize the likelihood of disease investing a cut during pruning. It is generally recommended to not use power equipment such as gas hedgers to prune Norway Spruce or any plant in my opinion.