Landowner Fact Sheets

Engelmann spruce Picea engelmannii

Engelmann spruce is a large western conifer found growing at high elevation locations with short, cool summers and long, very cold winters. The wood of Engelmann spruce is used for a variety of products and many birds and small mammals utilize it as a food source.

range map Click to see more images. wood grain

Engelmann spruce is shade tolerant. However, due to the even greater shade tolerance of firs and hemlocks, clearcutting in strips or patches and group selections are used to regenerate Engelmann spruce. The shelterwood method works too, but it favors fir and hemlock slightly more than spruce.

Mountain species, which develops best in deep, loamy soils, but is found on a wide variety of high elevation sites.


Medium to large tree (80 to 100 feet tall), straight trunk, narrow crown. At the highest elevations it will appear very windswept.

Timber Value
Engelmann spruce is used for pulpwood, lumber, mine timbers, rail road ties, poles, prefabricated wood products, veneer for plywood, musical instruments, specialized aircraft parts.

Wildlife Value
Small mammals and birds eat the seeds. Spruce grouse and blue grouse feed on the buds and needles.
Attracts chickarees, chipmunks, voles, red squirrels, chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, owls

Insects and Diseases

Fun Facts
Engelmann spruce is an important watershed protecting species in the western U.S. Its wood typically contains many knots, but it is used where high-quality lumber is not important. Engelmann spruce is occasionally used as in landscape as a screen, windbreak, and as a specimen tree.

Latin Meaning
Picea: Latin "pix" (pitch-producing) from Greek "pissa" (pitch) / engelmannii: after Dr. George Engelmann

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Landowner Factsheets © 2004 Virginia Tech Forestry Department, all rights reserved. Text, images, and programming by: Dr. Jeff Kirwan, Dr. John R. Seiler, John A. Peterson, Edward C. Jensen, Guy Phillips, or Andrew S. Meeks.