Spruce trees are conifers–they have needles instead of leaves and they bear cones. Pine, fir, Douglas fir, hemlock, cypress and larch are also conifers. Most conifers are evergreen, keeping their green color throughout the year. Uses for spruce vary with the species. Common species of spruce are Norway, red, white, black and Sitka. Species of spruce have different climatic and soil adaptations. They do not always grow in the same areas.
Spruce trees, especially Norway spruce, make good ornamental plants in the northern half of the United States. These trees provide windbreaks and they are used as privacy screens. Many Norway spruce cultivars have been developed, offering a range of height and shape choices.
Red, white and black spruce are cut into lumber, utility poles, pilings, boat building stock, furniture, boxes and crates. These species are also used to manufacture plywood and flakeboard.
Spruce, including red, white, black and Sitka, is harvested as pulpwood for the manufacture of paper. Types of paper made from spruce include newsprint, high-grade printing paper and wrapping papers.
Sitka spruce is used to make sounding boards for high-quality pianos, guitar faces, ladders and components of experimental light aircraft. White spruce is also used to manufacture piano sounding boards. Specialty uses for black spruce include distillation of perfume and as the main ingredient in spruce beer. Black spruce is also commonly used as a Christmas tree, but these trees lose their needles soon after they are cut.