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Weeping Norway spruce

By Nancy Norris | October 26, 2021

A dwarf conifer you can stake to form a living tunnel

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A spruce on a garden railroad
A spruce on a garden railroad
The weeping Norway spruce makes a statement, no matter where you place it on your railroad. Photo by Nancy Norris

Common name: Weeping Norway spruce


Latin name: Picea abies ‘Pendula’

Plant type: dwarf conifer

USDA Hardiness Zones: 2-8

Cultural needs: Moist, well drained, slightly acidic soil; sun to part shade

Plant height: 18″ if prostrate; 10-12′ if staked

Dark, evergreen needles on drooping soft branches make weeping Norway spruce an attractive specimen tree. Garden railroaders plant weeping Norway spruce for three primary uses: a staked weeping tree, a living tunnel or arch, or groundcover draped over slopes or walls. Without a stake, this conifer shrub will mound on flat ground or drape over a wall in thick branches. To create the shape of a tree, one must stake the plant and decide at what point to let it weep. Growing at 6-12″ per year, your tree will need shaping into something elegant, like no other tree.

Each one is different. Behind the bridge in the center of the photo, a young plant has been staked to have a 1′-high trunk and now slinks behind the bridge to avoid the inevitable pruning.

Close up of trained weeping Norway spruce
This 40-year old plant has been trained to form an arch. Photo by Nancy Norris

In the second photo, a 40-year-old living arch straddles a railroad. Got benchwork? Stake this conifer next to the track for an awesome living tunnel. It’s often sold at Lowes in one-gallon containers. Check out “How to train a weeping Norway spruce” at https://www.gardenguides.com/101505-train-weeping-norway-spruce/

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