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Trees of Nova Scotia (Part 4)

Red Spruce (Softwood)

This is our most valuable lumber and pulpwood species. Other uses include general construction, boxes and crates (because it imparts no taste to foods) boat-building, and ladder stock (where cross-grained wood is unsafe). The wood is often sold with the other two spruces as "spruce". On good sites it grows to 28m (92') tall and 0.3/0.6m (1'-2') in diameter. Normally the trunk is straight and fairly free of dead branches.

After balsam fir, red spruce is the most common softwood in Nova Scotia. Predominating in all but the Cape Breton uplands, and in western Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia's cool, moist climate ideal for the spruce, which also thrives in Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and the New England States, and ranges south in scattered pockets through the Appalachians to Tennessee.

The small branches make a good , springy mat to place under balsam fir boughs when making a camp bed or survival shelter. (Place the spruce under-side up, the fir face up)

Elements of the Red Spruce

Needles: Four-cornered, long, bright yellow-green, sharp-pointed, attached to tiny pegs. (part of the twig, not of the needle as in fir and hemlock)

Cones: Pendent, green to purplish-green in September, turning reddish brown and opening the first autumn to release two winged seeds per fertile scale, falling in winter. Cone scale edges nearly smooth.

Bark: Finely scaly, thin, reddish brown; inner black brownish yellow.

Wood: Nearly white to pale yellowish brown, lightweight, straight-grained, fairly strong, grain slightly more pronounced than in white or black spruce.


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