Evergreen Plantings

Asked May 11, 2017, 3:42 PM EDT

My subdivision is currently removing about 10 full size Austrian Pine that were diseased and not looking great. We are thinking of replacing them with about 8-9 Norway Spruce or Black Hill Spruce trees. We would like trees that will provide privacy for our houses and wind break, along with grow at a reasonably fast rate and be very disease and insect free. The trees are to be planted on the top of a berm so water run-off will be somewhat of an issue, although we are installing drip-irrigation lines. I also want to add that the soil is of clay-makeup.

My question is: Are there any serious disease issues with Norway Spruce or Black Hills Spruce good choices? Would it be better to choose a variety of trees? We are thinking of planting these trees about 15 feet apart.

Oakland County Michigan

1 Response


Both Norway and Black Hills spruces are listed as tolerant of clay soils and can be used for screens and windbreaks. It is good to use different species for diversity.

No plant is completely free of disease or pests. Right now the spruces you mention have relatively few pests. In future this could change. Spruce Gall Adelgids are known to prefer Norway spruce. You can check with a certified arborist in your zip code to see if adelgids are a problem in your location---find an arborist by searching here-


I would add one or two other species of conifer (fir or cypress or pine) for diversity. If a disease or pest becomes a large problem on one species, others are less likely to be affected. See the following link for choices:

Alternative conifers for Michigan:


Planning Screens and Windbreaks discusses spacing and layout patterns-


The Tree Owners Manual discusses proper care including planting, mulching and watering:


It is great that you are thinking ahead. Good luck with your project!