November 11, 2020

Lemon Scented White Fir

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Long ago, naturalist Donald Peattie predicted the real glory of the White Fir. "Rather does the future of this tree lie in its value as an ornamental," And we might add a great Christmas tree!

White or concolor fir is native to the central and southern Rocky Mountains, including Utah. Not only is it beautiful but it is one of the most adaptable firs. This is an evergreen tree, keeping its foliage year-round. It's blue-green needles, sometimes confused with blue spruce, curve outward and upward on branches and, when crushed, emit a lemon scent. White Fir essential oil can be used topically or aromatically create calming, stabilizing, and even energizing effects, with a clean, crisp aroma

The 2" to 3" long needles are silver-blue to silver-green in color. Resinous blisters can be found on the thin, smooth bark that becomes furrowed with age. This tree can reach heights of 150' with a diameter up to 4'. White fir prefers moist, cool, protected sites at elevations of 3,000' to 11,200' and can commonly be found in mountain forests. This tree grows at a slow to medium rate, with height increases of anywhere from less than 12" to 24" per year. Fir needles are softer to the touch than spruce needles, which is one of the best ways to tell them apart from spruces. It has also become a major component of the Christmas tree industry. Grouse like to eat the buds and needles and find white fir a good roosting tree. The seeds are eaten by squirrels, rodents, chickadees, crossbills and Clark's nutcrackers. Deer browse on seedlings, buds and needles, and porcupines gnaw on the bark.

Landscape Use: Very desirable tree that needs some protection to do well on windy, exposed sites in Utah's valleys. Does not seem to like high soil pH.