Picea glauca is a drought tolerant, deer tolerant, cold-hardy evergreen, which occurs naturally from Newfoundland south to Zone 6. It is also called Canada Spruce or Skunk Spruce – the blue-green needles sometimes have a pungent scent when crushed.
White Spruce is a a fairly narrow, compact, pyramidal evergreen. It reaches 40 feet in height or so, with a width of 10’-20’ at maturity. Its branches are stiff and upright, unlike the common Norway Spruce whose branches are drooping.
It bears small shiny cones (1”-2”) which drop when ripe, setting an abundant crop every 4 to 5 years. Deer tend to avoid browsing unless they are desperate. In fact, white spruce is known as a ‘stuffing species’—meaning deer have been known to die of starvation with a belly full of white spruce, as it provides no nutrition for them. Interestingly enough, it is known that White Spruce was eaten by the now-extinct mastodon.
“Chickadee” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by SteveBrand
Birds that eat the seed from spruce cones are primarily chickadees and nuthatches. Woodpeckers, chickadees, thrushes, warblers and purple finches nest in spruce trees.
White spruce tolerates wind, cold, drought, and crowding. It prefers full sun but tolerates some shade. You can use it in your landscape as a specimen, windbreak or hedge. It transplants easily.