At a Glance
Other common names: Bog Spruce, Swamp Spruce, Shortleaf Black Spruce
Mature Height/spread: 30-50 ft high/ 8-12 ft. spread.
Slow growth rate (12″ or less per year)
Soil / Climate: shorter needles and smaller and rounder cones than the other spruces, and a preference for wetter lowland areas. Full sun to shade.
Notes: Dense foliage with blue green needles.
Small violet colored cones turn to dark brown as they mature.
Wildlife: Mammals: Moose occasionally browse saplings, but white-tailed deer eat it only under starvation conditions. Provides good cover for moose.
A major food of snowshoe hares, especially in winter. Red squirrels consume seed from harvested cones. Mice, voles, shrews, and chipmunks eat seeds off the ground. Birds: Spruce grouse feed entirely on spruce needles in winter. Chickadees, nuthatches, crossbills, grosbeaks, and pine siskin extract seeds from open spruce cones and eat seeds off the ground. It also provides good cover for spruce grouse. In the Lake States, spruce grouse are dependent upon black spruce stands for much of their habitat needs.
The ruby-crowned kinglet, magnolia warbler, Cape May warbler, and ovenbird commonly nest in Black Spruce.
USDA NRCS Species Information