Best grown in moist, well-drained loams in full sun to light shade. Performs poorly in heavy clay soils. Intolerant of hot and humid St. Louis summers.
Picea breweriana, commonly called Brewer's spruce, is upright pyramidal evergreen tree when young, but develops pendulous branching and a weeping appearance with age. It is native to moist forested slopes and ridges from 3,000' to 7,000' in elevation in the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountain region in northwest California and adjacent southwest Oregon. It was first collected in 1863 near the western base of Mt. Shasta by William Henry Brewer (1828-1910), professor of agriculture at Yale University. In cultivation, this tree will typically mature to 30-50' tall and to 10-12' wide, but rises to as much as 75-120' tall in its native habitat. Trunk is typically buttressed and crown is conic. As the tree ages, branchlets (4-8' long) droop straight down to form hanging curtains of foliage. Glossy dark green needles (to 1-1.5" long) are gray-green beneath. Needles (flattened or triangular in cross section) are borne on woody pegs and radiate around the stems. Seed cones (3-6" long) mature to red-brown.
Genus name is reportedly derived from the Latin word pix meaning pitch in reference to the sticky resin typically found in spruce bark.
Specific epithet honors William Henry Brewer (1828-1910), American botanist and professor of agriculture at Yale and botanical explorer in California.
No serious insect or disease problems. Climate in its native range is cool and wet in winter but warm and relatively dry in summer. In cultivation, it is difficult to establish this tree in areas of the U.S. that vary from the climate of its native range. Susceptible to wood rot, brown rot and spruce budworm.
Large specimen evergreen with ornamental pendulous branching. Will be difficult to locate this tree or seed for the tree in commerce.