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Black Hills spruce

Cones and branches of Black Hills spruce.
Black Hills spruce is a small- to medium-height tree with a dense habit and broad, pyramidal form. It is a good addition to residential landscapes or for use in windbreaks.

Botanical name:

Picea glauca var. densata

All common names:

Black Hills spruce

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Planting Site:

  • Residential and parks

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Tree


  • Evergreen (foliage year-round)

Native Locale:

  • North America

Landscape Uses:

  • Screen,
  • Specimen,
  • Windbreak

Size Range:

  • medium tree (25-40 feet),
  • Small tree (15-25 feet)

Mature Height:

20-40 feet

Mature Width:

10-15 feet

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 3,
  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago)

Soil Preference:

  • Acid soil,
  • Moist, well-drained soil


  • Dry sites,
  • Road salt

Acid Soils:

  • Tolerant

Alkaline Soils:

  • Intolerant

Salt Spray:

  • Moderately Tolerant

Soil Salt:

  • Moderately Tolerant

Drought Conditions:

  • Moderately Tolerant

Poor Drainage:

  • Intolerant

Seasons of Interest:

  • early winter,
  • midwinter,
  • late winter,
  • early spring,
  • mid spring,
  • late spring,
  • early summer,
  • midsummer,
  • late summer,
  • early fall,
  • mid fall,
  • late fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Inconspicuous

Shape or Form:

  • Round

Growth Rate:

  • Moderate

Transplants Well:

  • Yes


  • Browsers,
  • Nesting birds,
  • Songbirds

More Information:

Tree & Plant Care

Tolerates a wide range of conditions.

Disease, pests, and problems

Mites, bagworms and sawfly are potential pests.

Native geographic location and habitat

Found in the Black Hills area of South Dakota.

Bark color and texture 

Scaly bark, silvery-gray in color.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Evergreen needles, green to blue green, brighter than those of the species.  Held singly on the stem.  Foliage is denser than that of the species.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Inconspicuous, male and female flowers on the same tree in different structures (monoecious).

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Pendulous cones, 1 to 2 inches long, brown at maturity.

Location of Picea glauca var. densata (Black Hills spruce) at the Arboretum