Norway Spruce is a good tree that has been used too much because it is cheap and grows quickly. It is too thick and dark and lowering to plant very near the house, as it effectually shuts out light and invites dampness. It is desirable to have a few Spruce trees near at hand, however, for in Winter they are the refuge of many birds that are well protected by the close-knit foliage; robins will make a grove of Spruce trees their home through the Winter, and their presence is always welcome. It is not a native tree but it has been so widely cultivated that in many instances it has escaped. It is larger and altogether more majestic than either the White or Black Spruce, and the branches are more drooping; this last characteristic gives it a melancholy expression which, as it is a rather heavy tree, makes it unattractive to many people. It is particularly beautiful amid snow-clad surroundings, and dear to the hearts of children on account of its association with Christmas, a fact that should not be ignored, for the children should be considered when the grounds are planted as the influence of trees and flowers in forming character is a marked one. If partly covered with snow the branchlets of the Spruce become so drooping that they give almost the appearance of weeping.
Spruce trees are particularly useful for screens and wind-breaks, and are planted by many people for hedges, for which latter purpose they are of doubtful value as they have many undesirable qualities. They do not do well if placed where they get the drippings from other trees. As the Spruces will bear close clipping they are often used for topiary work in America, where topiary material is hard to find; the tops are cut back and the lower growth is encouraged. Then they are shaped into balls, pyramids, and cones, or even made into more fantastic forms. They are not really appropriate for such a purpose, however, for while the effect from a distance is good they are coarse and heavy, and a very poor imitation of Box or Yew.