Sitka Spruce GI
Picea sitchensis GI
A vigorous tree commonly reaching a height of 120ft (35m).
Needles are long thin and sharp dark green above and blue green below.
The Forestry Commission's breeding programme in the 1980's and 1990's have produced various degrees of improved seed which is now available in limited quantities to the nursery trade. The improvements can include faster growth, lighter branching (leading to better quality timber), variations in timber density or a combination of these factors.
The often maligned "factory tree" of British upland foresty, Sitka spruce has proved a valuable tree for many rural communities since it's large scale planting early in the 20th century. Sitka requires plenty of moisture and thrives in the wetter areas of western Britain where conditions resemble those of its native home on the west coast of America. Because the roots are shallow trees growing in exposed situations may be uprooted by high winds. The tree is also vulnerable to damage by spring frosts and in frost hollows the hardier Norway spruce is usually planted. The white or pale brown wood is light but strong. It has long fibres for paper making.