Question answer

What is the difference between spruce and pine: is there a difference, comparative characteristics

What is the difference between spruce and pine: is there a difference, comparative characteristics

Spruce and pine are fairly common conifers that grow in different regions. Pines are considered undemanding to conditions and are often found in mixed and taiga forests. Spruces are more whimsical to the composition of the soil and need partial shade. What is the difference between spruce and pine trees? The difference affects the appearance and size of plants and how they are used.

Description of trees

To compare cultures, it is worth studying the descriptions of each of them. Pine belongs to the Pine family and the Coniferous class. This plant has been widely used in the cold and humid climate of the northern hemisphere, forming forest areas.

This tree lives 300-350 years. During this time, it grows 75 meters in height. But among the pines there are also centenarians. For example, in the USA there is a pine tree that is over 6,000 years old.

The plant is not too demanding on the quality of the soil. It can grow both in swampy areas and in dry sands. The culture is also found over ravines and on granite rocks. The tree easily withstands excess moisture and grows in poor, sandy and rocky soil, which contains a minimum of humus.

The plant is not afraid of frost and drought. It is resistant to wind and hurricanes. The main requirement of the plant is the presence of sufficient illumination. Pines do not tolerate even a slight blackout.

This culture is characterized by powerful roots with one main stem. They go deep into the ground. Many lateral roots diverge from the main part. This root structure makes it possible to get water from great depths and develop areas that are not suitable for other crops.

Pine has long and narrow needles, which are placed in pairs. In the same way they crumble. The needles are shed most massively in autumn. It remains on the branches for 2-3 years. The tree is characterized by a whorled arrangement of branches. It has about 5 skeletal branches that fan out from the trunk.

Pine cones are divided into male and female. With the advent of spring, male cones of a light yellow color appear on young branches. They are small in size. Female cones are larger and are placed at the ends of the paws one by one. They are difficult to distinguish among the needles.

Spruce belongs to the Pine family and the Coniferous class. It is an evergreen tree, which is distinguished by a lush pyramidal crown. Spruces are found in large numbers in Eastern Europe and China. They are also found in North America. In addition, spruce is one of the forest-forming species.Life expectancy averages 300 years. The tree reaches a height of 50 meters.

Spruce has a whorled arrangement of branches. Annual whorls are formed. Needle-shaped needles are attached to the skeletal branches, which have a dark green color. The length of the needles is no more than 3 centimeters. Spruce needles crumble and change gradually.

This crop is shade-tolerant, so it can grow in mixed forests. The tree normally perceives poor soil. However, it does not tolerate excessive moisture or dry soil.

Spruce is characterized by a tap root system. However, the main root of the plant is rather poorly developed. After 10 years, it begins to die. Therefore, the function of holding the tree in the ground and obtaining water and minerals is performed by the lateral roots.

Firs have male and female cones. A characteristic feature of female cones is a rich red hue. They are comparable in size to a hazelnut.Such cones are located on top of the crown. They are located at the very ends of the branches. Male cones are smaller and not as saturated in color. Their distinguishing feature is considered to be yellow pollen.

Growth area

Differences between the considered cultures affect the area of their distribution. Scotch pine is predominantly found in regions with a temperate climate, which are characterized by low temperature and humidity. This culture is found in the north of Russia, in the USA, Canada. The plant can also be seen in China and Mongolia.

European spruce partially shares distribution areas with pine. However, it is a more thermophilic culture. In addition to Russia, the USA and Canada, this culture is found in Central Asia and Eastern Europe.

Care Requirements

Coniferous plants under consideration have quite a few differences. That is why you need to take care of them differently. This mainly concerns the irrigation regime and the choice of a site for planting.

Pine is undemanding to the composition of the soil and easily adapts to rocky and wetlands. It easily withstands dry conditions and is resistant to frost. However, for all its resilience and vitality, the tree does not develop well in regions with a shortage of sunlight. Therefore, when choosing a landing site, you should give preference to well-lit places in which there is no shadow.

Spruce is also considered very hardy. In addition, it is characterized by undemanding to the composition of the soil. This culture is characterized by high frost resistance and feels good even in shady places. Proper watering is considered the main condition for the well-being of this plant.

When growing your own spruce, it is important to ensure that the soil on the site is not too wet or too dry. In this case, the culture will quickly wither. In addition, its roots will become susceptible to the development of diseases and pest attacks.

If the growing conditions are observed, both coniferous crops will not suffer from diseases and will decorate the site for many years.

Key differences

The differences between the considered cultures affect a number of characteristic features. They relate to external differences and areas of application.

Tree dimensions

When conducting a comparative characteristic, it is worth comparing the sizes of crops. I must say that on this basis they differ not too much. The average height of Scotch pine is 25-40 meters. Spruce grows up to about 30 meters. However, the size of the fir trees differ more. Among the representatives of this species there are compact trees up to 15 meters tall and real giants up to 50 meters in size.

Another important feature is the height of the needles. In pine, it is located at a distance equal to about half the length of the trunk. Spruce needles begin to grow directly above the ground.

Shape of cones

An important characteristic of plants is the structure of their cones. They are divided into male and female. By visual signs, the fruits of spruce and pine differ significantly from each other.

Male pine cones are characterized by compact size, comparable to the stone of a sweet cherry, and a yellowish color. Female inflorescences are generally difficult to notice, as they are even smaller and placed at the end of the pine whorl.

Female cones ate significantly more than male cones. They are easily identified by their rich red hue. Such cones are also located at the ends of the branches, but they are at the top of the crown. At the same time, saturated color and large sizes are not typical for male spruce cones.

Shape of needles

Spruce and pine needles have a number of differences. An important sign is the period of changing needles. Many people are sure that on evergreen crops, leaf blades are preserved for the whole year. If we consider spruce, this is true, but only partially. The needles of this culture crumble gradually. Moreover, every 7-12 years it changes with new needles.Pine by the arrival of autumn sheds the bulk of the needles. Thus, its needles change in 1-2 years.

An important difference between spruce and pine needles is its length. Spruce needles have a tetrahedral shape. Its size is 2-3 centimeters. In addition, they form a whorl and are fixed on the branches one by one.

Pine needles have a smoother texture and taper towards the ends. On the branches, they are placed in pairs and reach a length of 4-6 centimeters.

There are some differences in the color of the needles. Spruce needles are characterized by a bright dark green color that does not change throughout the life cycle of the leaves. The color of pine needles is dominated by lighter tones of green. In addition, it has the property of turning yellow by the beginning of autumn, becoming copper in color.


The trees under consideration differ not only in needles and cones. There is some difference in life expectancy.In spruce, it can reach 400 years. However, there are other varieties that live less. Pine can live up to 300 years. At the same time, some varieties live longer - it all depends on the characteristics of the soil and climate.


Both types of trees are used for timber harvesting. They are also actively used for medicinal purposes and in cosmetology. In addition, the cultures in question are used as a New Year's decoration. However, they have certain differences:

  1. Pine wood is considered more valuable. The plant has a straight trunk, on which there are practically no knots or other defects. Wood has a soft structure, so it is easier to process. Such properties are not typical for spruce material. In addition, it easily absorbs moisture and swells.
  2. Pine trees are often used for wind protection. Trees grow faster and require less care.
  3. Both types are used for garden design. At the same time, small dwarf varieties are most often preferred.

Despite the large number of similarities, the cultures under consideration also have many differences. The difference affects the appearance of trees, the features of their needles, the appearance of cones. The areas of application also differ.

This page in other languages: