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PSEUDOTSUGA menziesii

Image of Pseudotsuga menziesii

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Pinaceae

Botanical Name

PSEUDOTSUGA menziesii

Plant Common Name

Douglas Fir

General Description

Native across the western half of North America, Douglas fir is a needled conifer that reaches great heights when mature. In fact, it is the largest member of the pine family. Young trees have pleasing pyramidal habits, making them ideal as cut Christmas trees. Wild populations tend to be found at high elevations and favor sunny, dry, rocky slopes. Farther north in its range this tree is most commonly found on the south side of hills and mountains.

The spreading branches of this majestic tree are lined with whorls of flattened, resinous needles that are dark green on top and have whitish waxy bands beneath. The branchlet tips have pointed imbricate buds that are butterscotch brown. Distinctive female cones with unique tongue-like appendages hang from the branches, often by twos.

Douglas Fir grows best in full sun and prefers slightly acid, well-drained soil. Young trees are pyramidal, with branches that extend to the ground, so they make effective screens. But, as the years go by the bottom branches fall away. There are several desirable cultivars for the landscape, including 'Pendula', which has weeping branches, the columnar 'Fastigiata', and 'Fretsii', which is small and slow-growing. In the landscape, large forms are best grown as specimens for large open spaces, while dwarf forms are suited to smaller garden spaces.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    7 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    4 - 7

  • Sunset Zone

    A2, A3, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    80'-160' / 24.4m - 48.8m

  • Width

    20'-30' / 6.1m - 9.1m

  • Native To

    Western United States, California, Canada, China

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    None

  • Fruit Color

    Sandy Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Sienna, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Fissured

  • Usage

    Alpine, Feature Plant, Foundation, Screening / Wind Break, Shade Trees

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No