Black Spruce prefers wet but well-drained soil with cooler temperatures and really does best in the more northern areas of the state. It has been found in southern areas; however, usually in cold sphagnum bogs. It is sensitive to heat and for that reason, the humid and hot temperatures in the lower more southern areas of Wisconsin can be challenging. While it is shade tolerant, for the best growth it should be sited in an area with full sun (at least 8+ hours). Black Spruce is sensitive to salt spray and pollution and should not be planted near roadways.
Wetland sites that are high in organic matter are ideal conditions for Black Spruce and are wonderful for restoration or remediation purposes. With a shallow root system, they are very good for soil erosion control.
With blue-green needles, Black Spruce could be used for as an attractive screen provided the area is wet and cool. This particular spruce isn’t used very often as a specimen tree, but there are cultivated varieties available that have ornamental value such as ‘Aureovariegata,’ ‘Beissneri,’ ‘Fastigiata,’ ‘Nana,’ and ‘Mont Tremblant.’
According to the Department of Natural Resources of Minnesota, trees in cold swamps have “practically stagnant growth and trees two inches in diameter have been found to be 127 years old” Black spruce.