Norway spruce
  Oct 09, 2004 17:49 PDT 

     Today I measured a Norway spruce in MTSF to 127.1 feet and a CBH of only 4.2 feet. The 127-footer is a new height champion for MA and at this point the Northeast. think Will has a slightly taller one in Biltmore, I think. At this point, we've measured at least 4 Norways in MTSF to over 120 feet.

Norway spruce   Dale J. Luthringer
  Oct 13, 2004 21:28 PDT 

Nice pole of a Norway Spruce!

I've got one in the Irvine plantation at Anders Run Natural Area to 10.2ft CBH x 131.9ft high though.  

The only place I've found Norway spruce in the 120ft class or above is
at Anders Run. No other site I've seen in PA even comes close (don't
know what the eastern side of the state can support). Maybe somewhere
in southeastern PA there might be a topper. Most Norway plantation
sites here seem to be started in the CCC era (1930's). I suspect this
one was planted somewhere in the late 1800's to early 1900's. I'm not
sure on that though. Does anyone know when the first Norway spruce
started to be seriously transplanted to the U.S.?

It's also growing in an old depositional floodplain, so that probably
has a lot to do with it too.

RE: Norway spruce   Robert Leverett
  Oct 14, 2004 06:25 PDT 


   Good question. I think that I've heard that the species was
introduced in the late 1800s. The Mohawk trees are mid-1930s plantation
trees. So they are just now turning 70 years old.

   I often see larger, i.e. thicker Norway spruces as loners in many
places, but they seem to top out at between 85 to 105 feet. Girths are
typically 6 to 9 feet. For the height ceiling, the exception to the
isolated spruces is a tree in South Egremont, MA. It is now probably
around 124.5 feet. Mohawk has 3 above that.

   Northampton, MA and environs has a wealth of tall, mature trees. I
intend to put some serious effort into locating possible new champions
of several flood plain species. Northampton is loaded with gorgeous pin
oaks. There are isolated tuliptrees there plus those on a terrace of the
Manhan River where the state champ grows.

   When you get here for the summit, we'll have a chance to see a few of
the Northampton trees, plus much, much more.

   What I have never understood is why the Norway spruce has so much
trouble reproducing naturally in New England and elsewhere in the
Northeast. Does anyone have the answer to this riddle?

RE: Norway spruce   John Eichholz
  Oct 14, 2004 07:15 PDT 

I have no reply to the riddle, but was surprised to measure a Norway
Spruce to 116'+ across the street from my father's house in Shelburne
Falls. There are quite a few NS yard trees in town. Now I am wondering
about the height of the various patches of them I see in my travels.

RE: Norway spruce   Robert Leverett
  Oct 14, 2004 09:35 PDT 


   Indeed, it would be an interesting exercise for us to pursue this
species for a while and just see what kinds of patterns emerge. My sense
is that overall New England is favorable Norway spruce habitat. But
then, so is New York, and evidently, parts of PA and even North
Carolina. I have no idea how well it does in say Michigan - what
regional patterns might emerge. Since it didn't evolve over here, and I
have no idea how broad or restrictive the seed sources were and are, I
doubt that our measurements would have the same meaning as those we
collect for the white pine. Still, it would be interesting to match the
growth of the Norway spruce to our native conifers.

   I think most foresters see it as a fast-growing conifer, but how
fast, I don't know. Russ, what is your experience with Norway spruce in
West Virginia as compared to Massachusetts? I know that tuliptrees have
run-away growth in WV as compared to MA. But Norway spruce? What's the

Re: Norway spruce
  Oct 14, 2004 16:45 PDT 

Having witnessed repeatedly the ability of Norway spruce to produce cones
and seed I have shared your wonderment as to why it rarely appears to expand in
range beyond areas where it has been planted.

Since becoming more aware of invasive organisms and how they become
established, reproduce and spread, I would question whether there could be some soil
microbe in it's native terrain that has a long term link to seed germination
or some related genetic aspect of Norway spruce survival. It is starting to
look increasingly possible that the presence of certain microbial organisms
in the soil may be necessary to complete germination and successful
development for some plants, big and little.

The absence of microbial relationships and diseases that keep populations of
some plants from getting out of control in their native habitats is a major
factor in why invasives can spread so fast. It is amazing how fast an
organism can spread with no competition and nothing to kill it but old age. most favorite spot in MTSF is to be in the middle of the red pine
plantation (where the trees look as though they were planted by the CCC with a
transit to be on center as you walk through the columns of trees) in a
driving snow. I know you have to be there during a heavy snow to fully appreciate
the affect but it is really worth the spontaneous effort during an early
winter snow. Otherwise, it makes a great snowshoe walk.

RE: Norway spruce   Will Blozan
  Oct 14, 2004 18:58 PDT 

Norway spruce was once thought to be reproducing in the Smokies as indicated
by small trees in old Champion Paper plantations. However, I examined the
small trees (10-15' tall or less) and they appeared to me to be old stunted
trees, and I aged one that confirmed it to be quite old and probably a
seedling that did not do so well when planted. Michael Davie may now more
about this as I think he was involved in the girdling of the stand so they
would not cross with red spruce.

What I have seen in Asheville, NC is that Norway spruce is a very tall tree,
but does not get very large at all. Compared to white pine, a spruce would
put on only 1/4 to 1/2 the volume of a white pine and be nearly equally as
tall (~120') after 100 years (our oldest "groves"). I know of one tree
planted in 1865 that is around 11' in girth and 92' tall. It has a bit of
volume to it, but not nearly as much as a 140 year old white pine. However,
as an arborist working on them, what they lack in bulk they make up for in
weight! I have often thought that the green limb weight of an open-grown
Norway spruce would outweigh the trunk.