Nov 10 2007

Digging Spruce Roots

Published by at 6:13 pm under Plant Materials

Digging roots for the rim and for sewing up the basket is quite easy. I prefer spruce roots, but you can use pretty much any. Use a digging stick and a trench in the ground where you believe there are roots to be found. A way of identifying such a place is a dense stand of spruces, with few other species in it. If there is a thin layer of moss on the ground as well, it’s often the ideal place for collecting roots.


When you have found appropriate roots, start following the root in both directions. Chances are it will go underneath other roots, so first free it as far as you feel useful in either direction, then rip it off in one side and start taking it out from underneath the other roots. You’ll probably discover a bunch of other useful roots in the process, so one starting point can be the base of a whole day of harvesting.


Here is a coil of roots, useful for static binding tasks. Basket rims will not be in much motion, so it is excellent for that task. You can easily scrape off the bark with a sharp piece of bone (like a bone knife) and they can be split in 2 in the common way for wood as shown in my article on primitive ways. Dry the roots at any stage of the process and reconstitute them in water over night before use.



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5 responses so far

5 Responses to “Digging Spruce Roots”

  1. Sam_acwon 10 Nov 2007 at 10:06 pm

    Thanks for that – I should get on and have a go before the snow is on the ground. It is mostly sand not moss here but I guess the roots will still be diggable.

  2. Marcon 10 Nov 2007 at 11:03 pm

    Hey Torjus,

    good to see you back on the web
    nice article on spruceroots
    I understand you do not pell the outer ‘skin’ so to speak off the roots, right?
    how long woudl you say these roots last?



  3. adminon 11 Nov 2007 at 10:34 am

    I do peel off the bark (skin) on the roots, though I leave it on if I’m just making something temporary. The roots last indefinitely when dried.

  4. Owenon 12 Nov 2007 at 6:19 am

    I really need to get around to trying this. We have a lot of spruce around here. Can it be dried and reconstituted for later use?

  5. adminon 12 Nov 2007 at 7:05 am

    Yes, Owen it can.

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