The Spruce tree is one of the most iconic and well-known trees in the Northern Hemisphere. Spruce is a coniferous evergreen softwood that is recognized by its pointy needles, its pleasant forest smell, and the cones it produces as seeds.
The spruce tree is truly a versatile tree that can be used for so many different things. Most of us probably know that we use Spruce as Christmas trees and that it can be used for woodworking, but it can also be used for so much more.
Let’s take a look at what the spruce tree can be used for.
The spruce tree can be used as a Christmas tree, as food for humans, for woodworking, to build instruments, as windbreaks, in landscaping, as food for animals, as a chest rub, like beer, as spruce gum, for airplanes, as a firestarter, candles, and for its pleasant aroma.
The Norway Spruce is the most common of the spruce species that is used as a Christmas tree. The Norway spruce has the perfect coned shape that is sought after in a Christmas tree and is often very symmetrical which makes it great for hanging up lights and decorating.
The pleasant strong forest smell the tree gives is also a bonus.
Norway Spruce is most suitable as an outdoor Christmas tree since it is fairly sensitive to warmer temperatures. A few days inside should be fine, but if you were to keep the tree inside for the entire holiday season the tree would dry out and the needles will start falling off.
In Norway, we still use the tree inside, and when it dries out we cut it up and use it as firewood.
Food For Humans
In the spring the spruce will start producing new growth for the growing seasons. The new growth will come out as small light-green buds at the tip of the spruce branches. This new growth is edible and filled with nutrients, especially vitamin C.
Now, eating spruce needles might sound a little strange. Won’t they stab you when eating? Isn’t spruce needles very bitter in taste? Well, in general. YES. But the new growth is soft and the flavor is mild and piney with a hint of citrus.
Before eating any Spruce Tips, make sure you got the species right. Similar trees like the Yew can be quite toxic.
You can also eat the pollen that is produced by spruce trees in the spring.
Spruce is a good wood to use for framing, stud work, and constructions because it has one of the greatest strength to weight ratios when compared to other woods.
Spruce is also widely available across temperate parts of the Northern Hemisphere which makes it a fairly cheap wood.
Other than that, spruce is not a common wood to use for finer woodworking like tables, cabinets, or other furniture because it is a poor wood to work with and it does not stain well. But some still choose to use it for finer woodworking.
Spruce is a tonewood. It carries out soundwaves well and has a high stiffness-to-weight ratio. Spruce is used in instruments like the piano, guitar, mandolin, violins, and soundboards in general.
A very popular species of spruce to use for instruments is the Sitka Spruce, which is a spruce tree that grows quickly and as large as 305ft (93m).
Spruces are great for using as windbreaks. Not only do they grow quickly, but they also keep their needles through the whole winter and they are fine with growing close to each other in groups. This makes them the perfect tree to use as windbreaks.
In the 1900s in Western Norway where I live, on a windy island out in the ocean, my great grandfather planted a whole bunch of Sitka Spruces that were imported from America to protect our farm from the wind. Now the Sitka Spruces are over 90ft (30m) tall and the trees completely shelter the entire farm from any type of wind damage.
Spruce really works great as windbreaks.
Most of the spruce species are beautiful, naturally symmetrical, and easy to maintain. This makes them great to use as landscaping and as garden trees.
The Spruce will also spruce up your land and garden in the winter when everything looks gray and dull. The Spruce will stay green and fresh all year around.
Food For Animals
The cones and seeds of the spruce are a great source of food for animals. Animals eat the seeds, the new growth buds, and the pollen from the spruce tree.
Some common animals that harvest food from the Spruce tree are squirrels, deer, birds, chipmunks, and many more.
The Spruce sap can be used for so many different cosmetic and health products. A chest rub is one of them.
Spruce Chest Rub is made by mixing the sap from the Spruce tree with essential oil, this is done by heating the product so it blends together.
The end result is a chest rub that is great to use for the cold season and gives you warmth on those cold winter days.
Spruce beer can both contain alcoholic and non-alcoholic, similar to root beer. The Spruce buds and needles gave a special flavor to the brew, the flavor will depend on what species of Spruce is used to make the beverage.
The indigenous people of North America were likely the first people to make the beverage. Spruce Beer was used as a replacement for fresh fruits in the winter months when fruits were not available. Spruce needles contain a fair amount of vitamin C and were used as a cure for scurvy.
The Spruce sap can also be used as gum and can be chewed straight of the tree. However, for people in the modern age, this gum might have a fairly bitter taste to it. And is an acquired taste to say the least.
We can say that Spruce Sap Gum tastes like a forest.
Spruce gum tastes best if take it back home and remove all the impurities like bark and dirt from the sap. This is done by heating up the sap mix and draining the pure sap through a strainer. Then you can shape the pure sap into pure gum pieces.
The aroma of the spruce tree is used in my hygiene and cosmetic products. Spruce has that strong and pleasant foresty smell.
You can find spruce scented perfumes, spruce scented hand creams, spruce scented shampoos and the list goes on.
Because of the high strength-to-weight ratio, Sitka Spruce is one of the best woods to use in aircraft. In the modern age, we use other more well-suited materials for the construction of aircraft. But if wood is the material to be used, Sitka Spruce is one of the best woods to use.
Spruce Sap is a great fire accelerant. If you need to make a fire in the forest you can use the sap from a spruce tree to make the job easier. Spruce Sap can be ignited with flint and steel, or a match and it will burn long enough to start putting on tinder and for establishing a fire.
The flammable spruce sap can be used to make candles. You can simply use the sap as it is, and just light it on fire. Or you can heat up the sap, remove the impurities with a strainer, and put the sap into a mold with a candlewick.
A Spruce Sap candle gives off a pleasant smell of the forest and is great as a scented candle.
If you are burning it inside, make sure to keep a good eye on it. Since it will most likely burn with more fury than a normal candle.
Check Out The Uses Of Other Tree Species
Uses Of The Maple Tree: Click To See Article
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