red spruce
Picea rubens

Red spruce is a conifer of cool, moist eastern forests. Populations in the north are associated with heavy snow cover or moist marine exposures, while along the Appalachian mountains southward, high elevation is important. Red spruce is used for a variety of wood products, including fine musical instruments.

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Light Water
Growth   Size

Timber Value

      Red spruce is used for lumber, pulpwood, poles, piling, boat building stock, cooperage stock, flukeboard, plywood, pianos, guitars, mandolins, violins, organ pipes.


Wildlife Value
      Seeds and buds are eaten by birds, squirrels, chipmunks, and other rodents. Red spruce provides cover for deer and moose.
          Attracts: mice, voles, squirrels, chipmunks, deer, moose, bear, porcupine, yellow-bellied sapsucker and other birds

Regeneration methods
      Red spruce is shade tolerant and can be regenerated by shelterwood, group and single tree selection, clearcut, and seed-tree methods. It responds well to increased light despite many years of suppression.

Important Problems Early Detection tips
spruce budworm stunted, deformed growth

Fun facts
The light and strong wood is used for timber and pulp. In recent years red spruce has been experiencing a decline in much of its range which has been linked to severely cold winters and possibly air pollution. The famous acoustic guitar manufacturer, Martin and Company, used primarily red spruce for guitar tops dating from approximately 1900 to the mid 1940's.
Picea: Latin "pix" (pitch-producing) from Greek "pissa" (pitch) / rubens: blushed with red (buds and bark) - Latin "rubere" (red)
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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.

questions, comments, and criticisms: email John.Peterson@vt.edu