Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to a very rare species of tree for our Newtown, CT area. Recently the volunteer staff from “The Newtown Forest Association” officially located Black Spruce trees (Picea mariana) in one of our beautiful forest preserves.  This is truly a rare and very exciting find indeed, for the Black Spruce generally takes up natural residence in the cooler USDA zone 2 – 5 (if you remember from our earlier tree studies Newtown, CT is in USDA zone 6A).  Black Spruce according to literature cited from “The U.S. Forest Service” is also called Bog Spruce or Swamp Spruce, both names seem quite fitting because Black Spruce is quite at home in swamps and bogs with the moist organic glacial till soil.  The newly located Newtown, CT Black Spruce is deep within a preserved swamp and unless you are a die-hard tree lover, you may want to just enjoy the photos and leave the ticks and mosquitoes to the swamp.   Black Spruce can reach a maximum height of 9 – 15 meters (roughly 29 – 49 feet) and a DBH (diameter at breast height) of 15 – 30 cm (roughly 6 – 12 inches).  If again you are the adventurous type and want to make a leisurely jaunt in search of the Newtown, CT Black Spruce please keep in mind this is a relatively small tree (only about 4 – 6 DBH and 25 – 30 feet in height).  If you are in search of a massive spectacular tree you will be disappointed; but if you are a real nature lover this might just be the trek for you! Black Spruce is considered the smallest of the Eastern Spruce trees and still with its relatively small stature Canada and the Lake States find it very useful pulpwood species.  The wood is yellow-white in color, heavy, moderately soft with excellent strength/weight ratio.  Black Spruces are much heavier, stronger and harder than White Spruce (Picea glauca) it has been used for mining timbers and its exceptional resonance qualities make it good for manufacturing sound boards for musical instruments.

If you are interested in making a swamp hike to visit this rare tree, may I suggest come equipped with hiking boots. Mosquito repellant, a walking stick, perhaps a cell phone (in case you get lost), binoculars and a camera for photo of your visit.  For more information on the exact location of this rare tree please contact “The Newtown Forest Association” directly at 203-270-3650 or nfatreasure@yahoo.com.   Also let’s not forget the fine staff of volunteers with “The Newtown Forest Association” who survive through your generous donations and support.  The NFA is now the steward of over 1000 Acres of well-preserved forest and pasture lands scattered throughout Newtown, CT.  We are truly blessed here in Newtown, CT to have the NFA for nature conservation.  Your volunteer help and annual membership will help ensure Newtown, CT will have forest preserves for future generations to come


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