Tree Identification

Asked March 21, 2020, 7:11 PM EDT

I would like to identify this tree on our property. I love it but have heard that it may have shallow roots and it is close to the house. It has hanging extensions off each branch.

Putnam County New York

1 Response

That is a Norway spruce (Picea abies). Though there are many forms and sizes with this species, from 1’ tall and 2’ wide dwarfs with tiny needles, to 40’ tall trees that are only 5’ wide, yours is a full-sized one with strong, spreading limbs that each have long, flexible twigs that hang down and sway in the breeze. That type is usually called with the cultivar name ‘Pendula’. They are truly majestic trees. It is generally true that spruce trees have somewhat shallow root systems, nearly all trees do. What matters, though, is keeping them from blowing over in wind storms. What you can do is to create an environment that is good for roots, so avoid any soil or root system disturbance for at least as wide as the tree’s canopy, keep the soil moist to a depth of at least 2 feet through dry, hot parts of the growing season, and keep as much of the root system as possible covered 3-4” deep with an organic mulch like wood chips, bark, or compost. Do not try to grow a lawn or plant annuals under it, though carefully planted shade tolerant herbaceous perrenials are OK to plant and then let go. Good luck. Great tree. Mike Kuhns