Norway Spruce (Picea abies) is a naturalized species of European Spruce, and is very common in the northeast US.
It is widely planted because it grows quickly and is more tolerant of hot/humid climates.
Seed production begins when the tree is in its fourth decade. Individual trees can live up to 300 years.
Uses of Norway Spruce
Typically, reforestation efforts were conducted to convert abandoned or unused tracts of old farmland (which were no longer used for agriculture) into productive forest tracts.
Norway Spruce was useful for its wood, but also as Christmas trees — it has the wonderful triangular shape we all love — and for watershed control.
Catskills Spruce Plantations
There are many Norway Spruce plantations in the Catskills.
The spruce plantations in the Catskills are some of the most stunning woods in the Park. Especially at sunrise or sunset, the light filters through them in a way that is just absolutely magical.
Below you’ll find a list of hikes with impressive Norway Spruce stands. There are many others — and I’ll get to them all — but these spruce forests are all worth a visit, standing as enchanted forest cathedrals among the hills.