13. Sitka Spruce
Picea sitchensis Carriere
Native Range: North America, It thrives in the Pacific Fog Belt near the coast from Alaska to California.
- The tree is named after Sitka Island in Alaska
- Archibald Menzies described the species as growing in North America in 1792 and the trees were introduced to Britain by David Douglas in 1831.
- A moisture loving tree it grows very well in Scotlandand is a very important commercial timber tree. The speed of growth of the Sitka Spruce means it can reach its maximum timber potential in 40 years in comparison to an oak which may take over 150 years.
- In plantation forestry, Sitka Spruce can grow very close together forming a dense canopy. This shades out other plant species but many birds such as Goshawks and Sparrowhawks can hunt and nest around Sitka Spruce stands. Crossbills and Siskin can also be found feeding and nesting in the branches.
- The thinned timber from plantations is used to make pulp for paper making while more mature trees are turned into pallets, packing boxes and used in construction
More information on the extensive uses of this tree for its timber can be found on the Forestry Commissions Website www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-5NLEJ6
Bean, W.J., (1989), Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles(8th edn) John Murray London
The Forestry Commission website available at http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-5nlhqh and downloaded 5/2/2014
Eckenwalder, J. (2009) Conifers of the World, Timber Press