Norway Spruce Age?

ruthtononJuly 31, 2014

We have a large Norway Spruce growing 10 feet from the exterior walls of our townhouse. It is approx 70 to 80 feet high. It is 83 inches at the base diameter. The width is 50 or more feet. The tree faces south west and appears healthy although there is constant needle shedding and cones.
How old do you estimate this tree to be.

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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Probably pretty impressive. What part of the country are you in?

This is a difficult thing to estimate. My first guess is as old as the townhouse. By counting tree rings (after I cut down the trees) I could see the big ash's and silver maples by my home were all planted in the decade after it was built.

My second guess would be height divided by 2 feet per year. Maybe plus a few years if you are outside prime Norway Spruce growing territory.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 12:21AM
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I once cut down a norway spruce with a base diameter of aprox 24" that was only 25 years old. They grow extremeley fast if there is enough sunlight and streaming ground water. But planted trees in upland soil in the timber trade are often cut down after 60-70 years when they are 20-25". That is in their native range, they might grow faster or slower in a different climate.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 12:52AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

get inside it.. and look up .... and you will see yearly whorls of growth ..

one whorl per year ...

you will probably see.. that the inside looks like a ladder... perhaps 1 to 3 feet apart ...

count those.. and you will be in the ballpark ...

needle shed is normal ... as long as its interior older needles ... and that is why in a spruce forest.. the earth is carpeted with needles .... its a great.. natural.. FREE mulch ... i hope you arent raking them up all the time ...

the cones ... are supposed to fall off ...

and i would not be surprised.. if you said nothing grows under it ...and that is also normal ... it is a super competitor ... at this point in life ....

i dont know.. how happy i would be about an 80 foot tree.. 10 feet from my house ...


    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 8:03AM
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...get what you're saying there Ken, but NS trees really hardly ever topple over, shed branches, or any other variety of calamity......that I've seen. Anything is possible, of course!


    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 8:15AM
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beng(z6 western MD)

83" diameter!? That's 7 ft in diameter! You prb'ly mean circumference.

Very rough guess, but a range of age might be 50-120 yrs. One that's 85' tall nearby is known to be about 70 yrs old.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 8:41AM
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beng(z6 western MD)

Below is the N spruce I mentioned -- about 85' tall & planted roughly 70 yrs ago, growing in very good soil/moisture near Mt Savage, western MD:

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 10:38AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5


i agree about the spruce.. not really a storm damage tree ... you should note.. i didnt give the whole sleeping nightmare scenario ....

usually.. that type of tree ends up failing.. to a soil saturation problem ... in that the soil liquifies ...see link

and it is still ten feet from the house ...


Here is a link that might be useful: sorta like thje first pic here

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 11:45AM
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I had heard that people used to plant one of them on each side of their doorway after marriage or buying their home. I can't remember if it was done here or in Europe. If it wasn't the NS it was a tall conifer of some kind. I am thinking it was the NS in particular though.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 10:48PM
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I don't recognize that custom with planting NS. At least not common in northen europe but maybe in eastern parts. It is, or was, normal to plant a tree when your house was built though, but not NS. Maple, linden, elm or cherry was probably most common, or pine or rowan in the north. If that tree was hurt in any way, something bad was bound to happen to that house it protected.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 3:58PM
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