• Picea mariana

    Black spruce

Picea mariana

Black spruce description:

Picea Mariana, also known as Black Spruce, is a slow-growing evergreen tree that belongs to the Pinaceae family. It typically grows to a height of 30-50 feet, with a conical crown and a straight trunk that can reach a diameter of up to 60 cm. The tree has dark green needles that are 1-2 cm long, stiff and sharp, and arranged spirally around the branches. The cones of the Picea Mariana are small, cylindrical, and reddish-brown in color, and measure about 2-4 cm in length.

The Black Spruce is adapted to cold and moist environments and is commonly found in the boreal forests of North America. It grows in a variety of soils, including peat bogs, swamps, and well-drained uplands. The tree has a shallow root system that allows it to grow in harsh, low-nutrient soils and provides stability on wet or sloping terrain.

Picea Mariana plays a crucial role in the forest ecosystem as it provides habitat for various wildlife species, including birds, mammals, and insects. The tree also has cultural significance and has been used by Indigenous peoples for medicinal and ceremonial purposes. Additionally, the Black Spruce is highly valued for its wood, which is used for construction, pulp, and paper production.

Native Range:

Picea mariana has a native range that extends from Minnesota in the West to Maine in the East. It is primarily found in only these Northern Midwest and Northeastern States which includes Illinois as the Southern most state. 

Standard Plant Information:

Plant Height: 30-50'

Bloom time: June

Preferred Habitat: Does well in full sun and is most often found in northern swamps and bogs. 


Planting a tree seedling or small potted tree properly is important to ensure its healthy growth and development. Here are the steps you can follow to plant a tree:

  1. Choose the right spot: Select a spot with adequate sunlight, water, and soil drainage. Make sure the tree has enough space to grow to its full size without interfering with other plants, structures, or utility lines.

  2. Prepare the soil: Dig a hole that is twice as wide and slightly shallower than the root ball of the seedling. Remove weeds or debris from the area. Loosen the soil around the edges of the hole to help the roots grow more easily.

  3. Plant the seedling: Place the seedling in the hole, making sure the top of the root ball is level with the ground surface. Gently spread out the roots and fill in the hole with soil, tamping it down lightly as you go.

  4. Water the seedling: Water the tree deeply and thoroughly after planting, making sure the soil is evenly moist. This will help settle the soil around the roots and eliminate any air pockets.

  5. Monitor the growth: Keep an eye on the seedling to make sure it is getting enough water and sunlight, and that it is not being attacked by pests or diseases. Prune any damaged or dead branches as necessary, and provide support if needed.

By following these steps, you can help ensure the healthy growth and development of your newly planted tree seedling.

maps used with permission from MN Wildflowers

Picea mariana Gallery

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