Serbian spruce (OMS)
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Limited to small areas of the Balkans, along the Drina valley in Serbia and Bosnia where it grows on soils overlying limestone rocks.
There is little evidence of provenance variation; seed from good British stands or from the natural range should be preferred.
Grows on a wide range of sites from slightly dry to wet soil moisture status and from poor to rich nutrient regime, including more alkaline soils. It will grow on flushed peats. Is cold hardy throughout Britain and is less sensitive to frost than either Norway or Sitka spruce, but requires sites with over 650 mm rainfall. It is quite tolerant of exposure and can grow in areas subject to air pollution. Little is known about the species’ shade tolerance but it grows naturally in mixture with Norway spruce and beech. The typical narrow crowned form means that high stocking densities can be found and also confers some tolerance of wet snow.
Few diseases are reported for Serbian spruce growing in its native range. Aphids, mites and scale cause low level insect problems, but are not significant. The notable exception is white pine weevil (Pissodes strobi) which is a serious and economically important native insect pest in North America but is absent from Europe.
Although tolerant of a wide range of sites it rarely grows fast and is unlikely to be planted on a large scale under climate change scenarios. It does however offer potential to assist forest diversification with appropriate site selection.
Serbian spruce is categorised as a Secondary tree species. These are species that have been planted on a much smaller scale than the principal species but are reasonably well understood and have demonstrated their suitability for forestry in terms of stem form, growth rate and hardiness under current conditions and so have potential for wider use in future.
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