Fraser Fir?

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by WadeT, Jun 27, 2005.

  1. WadeT

    WadeT Active Member 10 Years

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    Last edited: Dec 26, 2005
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Re: Frasier Fir?

    Grows for a comparatively short number of years (for a tree), then gets full of bugs, deteriorates and dies. This is typical of high altitude/cold climate conifers in Zone 8. Commonly grown for Christmas, where they are cut before they get old enough to go bad (and may be kept sprayed anyway).
     
  3. WadeT

    WadeT Active Member 10 Years

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    Re: Frasier Fir?

    Facinating. I expect these to be tempermental though. Only time will tell. Thanks for the info.
     
  4. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Re: Frasier Fir?

    Frasier Fir are very nice looking when they are young.
    It just kills me to see them and other Fir cut down so
    young just to be wasted for Christmas and then be
    thrown away like an unwanted pile of trash later.
    I find it all rather grating any more with my added
    age and feel for the livelihood of the trees. At
    least some municipalities around here are now
    grinding up the discarded trees and making mulches
    from them which is a little consolation I guess.

    One thing to keep in mind is that Fir do not like
    high ozone levels. Researchers may write about
    insect damage but where this Fir is native there
    has been rather high ozone levels from pollution
    of late. Yes, it is true that older trees of this Fir
    are subject to insect damage but in those areas
    most of these trees were planted and forgotten
    also. If we know what the soil, water and climate
    conditions are required for long term growing of
    this Fir we can go many years without too much
    worry about insects that may severely weaken or
    perhaps kill the tree. If we only would pay attention
    to what we are seeing as the tree is growing for us.
    Personally, I think most Fir is a very good choice
    to try most any where in the Pacific Northwest. I
    have not grown a Frasier Fir here but I see no real
    worries growing it along here and then transplanting
    it later at a higher elevation.

    Good luck but a word of caution, you may have your
    two trees from the first photo a little too close together
    and they are planted way too close to the cyclone fence.
    It will be a while before you will be concerned about
    that but you will be facing a probable space issue and
    a definite fence dilemma later.

    Jim
     
  5. WadeT

    WadeT Active Member 10 Years

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    Re: Frasier Fir?

    Wow, great write up Jim. I agree about cutting these things and have been using a fake tree for years.:)

    Didn't even think about the proximity to the fence or each other... There were Arborvitae shrubs there before which were transplanted to the back yard. Guess I'll move the Frasiers back in a atleast 5'. Fun, fun fun.

    Thanks.
     
  6. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Re: Frasier Fir?

    There's several other Abies that will look just as good and will grow better (more long-lived) in the PNW climate, species like A. nordmanniana, A. borisiiregis, A. homolepis, etc, etc. Maybe give some of them a try?

    For a PS - Fraser Fir (no 'i' in Fraser :-)
     
  7. WadeT

    WadeT Active Member 10 Years

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    Re: Frasier Fir?

    Egads!! Good call on the spelling (damn US schools). :)

    Thanks for the reconmandations Michael. I had to look those up. I didn't know those areas of Europe had such beautiful conifers.

    Now. if i just had a bigger yard... :0
     
  8. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Re: Frasier Fir?

    I learned it as being Abies fraseri but if you
    look at these links below you will see the "i"
    in the spelling from a couple notable
    educational institutions.

    Wade, we can spell it with the "i" if we want
    as the Fir is native to the US.

    http://virtual.clemson.edu/groups/FieldOps/Cgs/christ_t.htm

    http://www.agr.state.ne.us/pub/apd/trees.htm

    http://www.umsl.edu/~loiselle/Biol440/Smokies/Introduction.html

    http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/cabarrus/staff/dgoforth/newsart/christtree.html

    http://paimpact.cas.psu.edu/agr18.html

    Jim
     
  9. whistler

    whistler Member

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    Re: Frasier Fir?

    Hi, Yeah these firs are not that good in the long run. They do suffer from the Adelgiad aphid. and also they are not a "douglas Fir" which is called "Pseudo menziesii", but a true fir---Abies fraserii
     
  10. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Re: Frasier Fir?

    We all may have our favorite Fir to grow and have
    but the others are not the issue here. I like pretty
    much all of the true Fir and have several forms
    myself both native to the Sierra Nevada's and
    others I have introduced to that area. Even an
    Abies concolor 'Candicans' can look much better
    grown here in the Sierras rather than it will look
    grown in Washington and vice versa at times.
    Aurea forms tend to look better grown in most
    areas of Oregon and probably Washington also
    than they look here in the Sierras.

    Plantation grown Fraser Fir in Oregon do not
    have the same problems as the ones that are
    native to the Eastern US, grown in the wild,
    seem to have. Also, the aphid that is a problem
    elsewhere for this Fir is not a problem here at
    all in our Sierra Nevada's. What makes this all
    interesting, at least to me, is that I may just go
    out and grow this Fir when many of you would
    not dare try to grow it. Who cares if one Fir
    is prettier than the other, there will always be
    one better in someone's eyes. If Wade is
    excited about having this Fir then I am all for
    it and will help him a little if I can.

    Let's put the spelling to rest for now, although
    it has been both fun and interesting to see it
    spelled Frasier and Fraser.

    http://www.realchristmastrees.org/treetype/fraser.html

    Jim
     
  11. WadeT

    WadeT Active Member 10 Years

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    Re: Frasier Fir?

    Hehe, I've seen Fraser spelled 3 ways on the net now, lol.

    Well, I really don't have a favorite fir but after reading about these Frasers over the last few months I can appreaciate them for what they are. I'm facinated by introducing non-natives to this area just to see how they do. It's amazing how far way these things grow in the wild(east coast) yet will thrive here as well. Sometimes, I walk into the yard pull up a chair and stair at the Frasiers and Korean Firs I have growing. I can't believe I can grow these things in good olde Washington State and that I have them here period.

    I'm also, constantly wondering why or how conifers evolve in different climate zones thousands of miles away yet can look very similar. I also want to start propagating Conifers ASAP now that I have my own place.

    I guess my wacked preoccupation with conifers started when I was 15. The local bank was giving out Dougas Fir seedings as a promotion one Saturday. Normaly, they hand out 2 per person. I managed to talk them into giving me 50! I planted a dozen in my parents back yard in West Seattle and the rest around the N'hood. This was in '85 and my parents sold the house in '90. Today, I've only been able to find 3 of these seedings, now trees, that still exist. But I've been bitten by the bug, whatever it is. I can't stop thinking about all the possibilities at hand.

    later,
    Wade - tree nerd :)
     
  12. Jerry Cannon

    Jerry Cannon Member

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    Re: Frasier Fir?

    Hello all,

    I'm new to this forum and want to thank everyone for their post. I live in metro Atlanta, but have property in the North Georgia Mtns, where I plan to retire. I'm interested in planting fir and spruce trees but not sure what types to plant. The elevation is approx 2500 ft a/sea level. I've read that the Fraser Fir prefers elevations at 3500 ft. but I'm curious if any of the Western varieties will work?
    I just found a very nice website "Cool Springs Nursery" located in N.C. that grows Frasers exclusively.

    It appears the owners do a wonderful job in conservation as well as providing Christmas trees. Last interesting note, they send their seedlings out west for a year or so, then they're returned for planting. Interesting reading. More importantly, it seems you folks really know your trees and I hope to learn much about these (Pinacea) magnificent family of trees.

    Thanks,

    Jerry
     
  13. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Re: Frasier Fir?

    "Firs, Scotch pine, Spruce etc. Not likely to be successful except Spruce and fir in extreme north Georgia. I understand that Canaan Fir has done well in Rabun county in northeast Georgia. One grower in Blairsville area has had success with spruce"

    http://gacta.com/Growers_information/Growing_Christmas.html

    Jacobson, North American Landscape Trees (1996, Ten Speed, Berkeley) notes that Abies concolor is

    "By far the most amenable of the native FIRS to cultivation in the eastern U.S."
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2008
  14. Douglas Justice

    Douglas Justice Active Member UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society 10 Years

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    Re: Frasier Fir?

    We've been trying Abies fraseri (Fraser fir) in our Carolinian Forest Garden plantings, and I have to say they look pretty horrible. Whether this is because of summer drought or drainage issues (most true firs grow best in deep, well drained soil), I couldn't say. I don't believe they have balsam woolly adelgid (Adelges piceae)at least they didn't the last time I lookedbut infestations are evidently generally fatal for this species. The local (i.e., Lower Fraser Valley) Christmas tree trade does a good business in Fraser fir, which suggests that low elevation isn't an issue in this area.

    The Fraser fir is named for John Fraser (1750-1811) a Scottish nurseryman who botanized frequently in the southern Appalachians from 1786-1807. He collected for Kew Gardens and the Linnean Society and also sold his plants privately, including to the Empress of Russia, eventually becoming the official Botanical Collector for Russia for several years.

    The Fraser River is named for another Scotsman (although American born), Simon Fraser (1776-1862) who explored British Columbia for the North West Company. In the spring of 1808 Fraser successfully navigated the river that bears him name from Prince George (Fort George) to the Pacific Ocean, present site of the city of Vancouver, a perilous journey of over a thousand miles. He and his crew were beset by problems, not least that they received a hostile reception from First Nations people near the mouth of the Fraser. Ultimately, Fraser is said to have been disappointed to discover that the river he descended was not the Columbia. British Columbia's second largest university is Simon Fraser University in Burnaby (east of Vancouver).

    Back to Abies species... See this link to an article I wrote for Davidsonia, UBC Botanical Garden's journal.
     
  15. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Re: Frasier Fir?

    My experience is that the Fraser Firs for the Christmas tree trade are imported, mainly from sources in Oregon. I have spoken with tree farmers over the years and the common discussion regarding noble fir, grand fir, balsam fir and fraser fir is about why they dont grow them much locally. Many of those trees have a waxy coating on their needles helping slow dessication of the needles, useful at altitude or in harsher climates, not good in a rainforest climate.

    I had a bit of an epiphany in this regards a number of years ago on my first trip to the interior of BC (as an interested person). I remember noticing for the first time how the tree species changed so noticeably while driving on the Coquihalla highway. From the lower mainland through to Hope its mainly Thuja plicata and Pseudotsuga menseizii, through the mountains it changes to Abies (engleman I believe) then further along its Pine.

    I work at a Christmas tree lot in the month of December. When we take the tree and make a fresh cut on the stem base, I save up the little 'cookies'. For me its interesting to look at the growth increments and see CODIT evidence from old wounds etc, my wife thinks I am a bit of a nut. :) This year I was showing some of the other staff the growth rings from a 10 year old, 6 foot tall, farmed noble fir and a 'bush cut' douglas fir (about 18 years old, 8 feet tall, existing as a weed under the power transmission lines). The farmed tree had growth increments for spring growth of about 1/4" and about 1/8" for the fall growth increment Total diameter about 4 inches. The wild grown tree had a stem of about 2.5 inches and growth increments averaged about 1/16 to 1/8 inches.

    I also saw in the growth increments that the growing season in 2004 must have been long with favourable conditions, almost every 'cookie' I looked at the third ring in from the bark was 10-20%larger than the years after or before.
     
  16. Douglas Justice

    Douglas Justice Active Member UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society 10 Years

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    Re: Frasier Fir?

    Paul,

    I stand corrected. My brother always buys a tree from Murphy's in Langley and they've purchased Fraser fir before, which I assumed were grown on site.

    On the way to the Coquihalla Highway (a spectacular drive, now without tolls), along with the western red cedar and Doug fir, you can see plenty of Abies grandis (grand fir) and Tsuga heterophylla (western hemlock). On the upper slopes, you can find the hemlock mixing with Abies amabilis (Pacific silver fir) and Tsuga mertensiana (mountain hemlock).

    On the Coquihalla highway itself, as you gain altitude, subalpine fir (A. lasiocarpa) is generally visible on the highest terrain near the treeline, and as you leave the Coast Mountains and the maritime influence lessens, it grows in mixed stands with Picea engelmannii (Engelmann spruce). Lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta subsp. latifolia) is easy to pick out—they're the dead ones.
     
  17. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Re: Frasier Fir?

    The Engelmann tree is of course a spruce rather than a fir. Local representation of Fraser fir Arthur Lee Jacobson (2006, Trees of Seattle - Second Edition) depicts this way:

    "In Seattle, uncommon. Sold by some nurseries as living Christmas trees, these are occasionally planted in yards. Dark green, strong and handsome when young, they unfortunately prove short-lived here, in this respect quite like Balsam fir, a close cousin. Small, attractive and distinctive cones are often freely borne"
     
  18. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Re: Frasier Fir?

    I have bought batches of trees from Murphy's a number of years back, we only ever got Douglas Fir from them, it certainly is possible they grow them (Fraser) and the odd Noble but I would guess the local growers are about 80% douglas fir.

    The place I worked this winter I believe the only 'local' trees were the bush cut Douglas Fir although in past years they have brought in trees from Giesbrecht's (the same folks as the berry fields in the valley).
     
  19. WadeT

    WadeT Active Member 10 Years

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    Re: Frasier Fir?


    I found 3 growing in Lincoln Park - West Seattle fall '07. They appear to be 30 years old, but who really knows. Whoever planted them understood the trees would need cool summers since they were planted a stone's throw from the beach.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  20. WadeT

    WadeT Active Member 10 Years

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    Re: Frasier Fir?

    Here's a few pics of the very trees I planted when this thread was started. They're doing quite well but require some summer watering.
    Last May:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Last week:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  21. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Last edited: Dec 28, 2008
  22. WadeT

    WadeT Active Member 10 Years

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  23. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    As far as I know there is no reason to think these are not Nikko fir. You can compare your closeup shot with others at the link I provided. Your habit photo shows the branching characteristic of the species and even the typical bark - these can also be seen in photos on the page(s) I linked to.

    If you want to compare them closely here's some vegetative features taken from 'Outline of the characteristics of the shoots, buds and needles of more prominent Abies species' on p. 28 of Krussmann, Manual of Cultivated Conifers (1985, Timber Press, Portland):

    Abies fraseri

    Young shoots not furrowed, very pubescent, gray-yellow. Buds very resinous, round, small. Needles 15-25 mm in length, apex round-crenate, stomata under.

    Abies homolepis

    Young shoots furrowed, glabrous, yellow. Buds slightly resinous, ovate. Needles 20-30 mm in length, apex crenate, stomata under.
     
  24. WadeT

    WadeT Active Member 10 Years

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    Ron, you're right. There's alot of variation in the google images but they seem to be more consistant with the park trees. I've always invisioned A. homolepis resembling A. koreana. Never did see any cones on those trees.
     

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