Evergreen trees, which keep their leaves (needles) throughout the year, are often the “stars” of our New England landscapes in winter. Here in Medford, one of the stars among our evergreens is the Norway spruce (Picea abies) that beautifies the landscape at the front of City Hall.
As its name implies, Norway spruce is native to northern Europe and Eurasia. It is a large, pyramidal tree with a fast growth rate, reaching up to about 60 feet in height with a 30-foot spread at the base. Needles are light to dark green, shiny, and about an inch long. Cones are 4 to 6 inches long, purplish or greenish when young, turning brown as they mature. Norway spruce can be an effective windbreak, provides shelter for deer and other furry animals, and makes a good roosting tree for owls and hawks.
Norway spruce performs best in full sun and is widely used in places like parks, golf courses and along highways. It has a formal dignity that lends itself well to planting near public buildings.
The Norway spruce at City Hall was planted about 18 years ago. In that short time, it has grown to become a big and healthy tree and a delightful focal point, especially with a dusting of snow or with the Christmas lights illuminated. With City Hall undergoing repairs and improvements, both the historic building itself and the landscape are looking handsomely “spruced up”.
Special thanks to Jesse Jesalonis, former Medford Tree Warden, Earl Philbrook, contract arborist for the City, Paul Volpe, Forestry foreman, and our Forestry crew for supporting our Medford trees and sharing their expertise and knowledge to contribute to this column.
– Submitted by Aggie Tuden, Medford Tree Warden