Propagation: abies grandis

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by fredmcain, Oct 30, 2019.

  1. fredmcain

    fredmcain Active Member

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    Location:
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    Group,

    Has anyone in the upper Midwest (or anywhere else, really) attempted to grow abies grandis (grand fir)?
    I started three specimens here in Indiana last spring (one that was "bare root" and two that were grown and shipped in gallon containers). They all did remarkably well over the summer. They very nearly doubled in size and showed signs of exceptional vigor.

    Then, right near the very end of the summer, two of them suddenly died and I mean suddenly. We enjoyed a somewhat mild summer without too much heat and humidity. Then in August we had exceptionally mild weather with cool nights when they died. So, I'm just not seeing where the stress came from.

    Has anyone on our forum had an experience like this? It's left me scratching my head! The third specimen going into the fall still looks pretty good so I'm hoping it might be O.K. next year.

    Regards,
    Fred M. Cain,
    Topeka, IN
     
  2. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    Abies grandis is not native plant where you live, may be the climate there is not suitable for them. On my prop here in BC I have many Grand Firs growing, I don't give them any special care and they are doing very well. They tolerate cold winters, very hot summers and drought. Sorry to hear about your problem. Which of your trees died? The ones that were shipped in containers? Did you get them all from the same source?
     
  3. fredmcain

    fredmcain Active Member

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    Sundrop,

    I had two abies grandis in gallon containers and one bare root stock. They were all about the same size around 20 - 25 centimeters. The bare root stock came from a nursery in Pennsylvania and the two container grown specimens from a nursery in eastern Washington.

    It was the bare root stock and one of the container-grown plants that died. I had a terrible time with moles last summer and I'm tempted to blame the death of the bare root stock plant on moles. They rooted around and dried out the soil. I fought them all summer to no avail.

    But I could not see or find any signs of mole damage around the other specimen. Over the years I have had moles before root or "viel" around the base of my tree seedlings but they never killed any before. So, I'm still scratching my head here.

    There is, I believe, a nice grand fir growing at the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St Louis. http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/FullImageDisplay.aspx?documentid=32024

    It's even hotter and more humid there than here so if abies grandis can live there I would think they should be able to survive here.

    Regards,
    Fred M. Cain,
    Topeka, IN
     
  4. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    So, at least we know the problem is not related to the supplier of the trees. As for moles, I don't have any experience with them personally but agree that big air pockets they create in the soil could be detrimental to the proper functioning of the roots.
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Actually the MOBOT tree can be seen in your picture to have something affecting the mature needles. Here, in my part of its native area it is made thin looking by sucking pests.
     
  6. Partelow

    Partelow New Member

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    I have two abies concolor (Colorado Fir) here in the southern interior of BC. They are lovely blue selections with very long needles. Have thrived for more than twenty years. I would suggest that they are hardier than abies grandis and thus more suitable in your climate, Fred. For a more exotic abies, try pinsapo. Arguably hardy to zone 6....a most unusual but attractive abies. I have also a koreana but plan to remove it as it grows sparsely, with much interior browning. Also a lasciocarpa, our native Alpine Fir. Does OK.
     
  7. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I'd not trust Abies pinsapo anywhere below zone 7.
     
  8. Partelow

    Partelow New Member

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    I would agree, Michael, that abies pinsapo is not reliable in less than a zone 7 . But mine is healthy and hale in a zone which is not regarded as better than zone 6. About 7 meters now and coning. A most unusual conifer that always draws attention. I have a dozen seedlings from it. I became interested in it after I came across it in an arboretum in Spokane WA. Spokane is slightly cooler than here. Anyway it brings up the discussion, again, about hardiness being only a factor of winter minimums. I believe that hardiness is dependant on many other factors including humidity and culture. Fred, would probably have no success with pinsapo in Indiana due to summer humidity and large winter temperature fluctuations. But I would encourage him to try abies concolor. Almost certainly more hardy than grandis.
     
  9. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I reckon that a plant can't be considered hardy until it has survived the worst winter in a century - yours will be I guess about a quarter of the way towards that? But of course, the way the climate is going, you'll probably be a solid zone 8 by the time that century is up . . .

    Of A. grandis / A. concolor, the latter is certainly hardier than coastal populations of the former; but A. grandis from the interior populations in Idaho / Montana (Abies grandis subsp. idahoensis) are likely even hardier (probably zone 4, perhaps even zone 3). They might also be better able to tolerate summer humidity, but are also less attractive, lacking A. concolor's glaucous foliage.
     
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Last killing winter cycle in the PNW was 1989-1990. Any plantings post dating that period have not been fully tested. And it was the worst cold in 30 years only, and not a longer period.
     

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