Evergreen: Douglas Fir General Information

Douglas fir closeup of needlesThe Douglas fir may be one of the best known evergreens, and yet very few people know much about it. Despite its common name, the Douglas fir is actually not a true fir. It does not belong to the same genus as other firs. Because of this, this conifer has other, perhaps more appropriate names, including Douglas tree and Oregon pine. Despite the name confusion, this tree can be found in many different places. There are a few different species of the Douglas fir that can be found in various locations, including along the U.S. Pacific Coast, the Rocky Mountains, Mexico, and one species can actually be found in Japan. This wide spread evergreen is a unique and interesting tree.

What does a Douglas Fir tree look like?

When young, this evergreen is shaped like a cone and its branches are thick and dense. However, as it ages, the shape becomes more pyramidal and the branches open up. As a coniferous evergreen, the Douglas fir keeps its leaves, which are needles, all year round and produces cones. The needles of this conifer are two to four centimeters long and look similar to those of firs, which is one of the reasons for the tree’s misnomer. These needles are flat and soft. Their color can vary from species to species. The Coast Douglas firs tend to be dark yellow green, while the Rocky Mountain Douglas firs are generally blue green. The characteristic that is most unique, however, is the cones of the Douglas fir. Unlike true firs, the Douglas fir cones have what is called a bract on its cones. These bracts protrude from the cones and can be described as trident-shaped. These bracts cannot be found on the cones of true firs or on most other conifers.

Douglas fir pine cone forming

Uses for Douglas Firs

The Douglas fir has many uses in many areas. The wood of this evergreen is used often for construction due to its incredible strength. This wood has been used in the construction of boats, especially in mast building, and other structures that need to withstand heavy loads. Wood from Douglas firs are also used to make telephone poles and railway ties. The Douglas fir also happens to be one of the most common choices to use for Christmas trees. Many also choose to use Douglas firs in their landscaping. This conifer is a very good choice for a windbreak because of its ability to stand against strong winds. Many also prefer it for a landscaping tree because it responds well to pruning and shearing.

Taking Care of a Douglas Fir

When preparing to plant a Douglas fir, there are a few things to keep in mind. This tree does best in either partial sun or full sun. It prefers humid conditions and has a low tolerance for drought. In summer, this evergreen should be watered between one and four times a month, depending on rain fall.

Why Choose Douglas Fir evergreen trees?

The Douglas fir is a wonderful choice for a landscape tree for multiple reasons. It is perfect for an ornamental tree because it responds so well to pruning and shearing. It also has very little chance of being uprooted by wind. If well cared for, it can add to your landscape for decades! If you would like to add these beautiful fir trees to your own landscape, then give Elizabeth Farms a call and we can help you select and plant your new trees.

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