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Author:Dave Powell, USDA Forest Service
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Author:Dave Powell, USDA Forest Service, United States
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2008 Crop New Mexico

Pseudotsuga menziesii

var. glauca NM Santa Fe

Douglas Fir

  • Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca NM Santa Fe

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Growing Info

Scarification: Soak in water, let stand in water for 24 hours
Stratification: cold stratify for 30 days
Germination: sow seed 1/4" deep, tamp the soil, mulch the seed bed

Other: fall sowing in mulched beds is prefered to artificial stratification 

Introducing the Pseudotsuga Menziesii Var. Glauca Douglas Fir: The Perfect Tree for Your Landscape

Are you in need of a stunning and versatile tree to enhance your outdoor space? Look no further than the Pseudotsuga Menziesii Var. Glauca Douglas Fir. This magnificent evergreen conifer, native to western North America, boasts a rich history and a range of impressive features that make it an ideal choice for any landscape.

Firstly, let's delve into the origins of this remarkable tree. The specific epithet, menziesii, pays tribute to Archibald Menzies, a Scottish physician and rival naturalist to David Douglas. Its common name, however, honors David Douglas, a Scottish botanist who first recognized the extraordinary potential of this species. Despite its name, the Douglas Fir is not a true fir, but rather belongs to the genus Pseudotsuga. This distinction is important and often reflected in the name Douglas-fir.

The Pseudotsuga Menziesii Var. Glauca Douglas Fir is highly adaptable and can be used as a specimen tree or in mass screenings. Its splendid appearance also makes it a popular choice as a Christmas tree. Timber companies are particularly fond of this tree for its useful wood and quick growth. After clear-cutting an area, timber companies often replant with Douglas Fir due to its rapid growth and excellent timber quality.

In addition to being beneficial for timber companies, this tree plays a vital role in providing food for small mammals. After dispersal in western Oregon, the seeds of the Douglas Fir quickly become a crucial source of food for mice, voles, shrews, and chipmunks, who consume an estimated 65 percent of the seed crop.

Now, let's explore the specific characteristics of the Pseudotsuga Menziesii Var. Glauca Douglas Fir. This variety, known as the Rocky Mountain variety, thrives at higher elevations of up to 9,500 feet. Compared to the species, it has a slower growth rate, shorter cones, blue-green needles, and better winter hardiness. Particularly, the Var. Glauca is favored in areas outside of the Pacific Northwest due to its greater cold tolerance, making it suitable for midwestern climates. While the species is hardy to USDA Zone 6, the Var. Glauca can withstand even colder temperatures, with a hardiness range extending to Zone 4.

From a practical standpoint, the Pseudotsuga Menziesii Var. Glauca Douglas Fir is relatively low-maintenance and does not suffer from serious insect or disease problems when grown in the appropriate environment. Best grown in medium to wet, well-drained soils and full sun, it thrives in locations with abundant air and soil moisture.

With its remarkable size potential, the Pseudotsuga Menziesii Var. Glauca Douglas Fir is one of the largest trees in the world. While it can reach up to 300 feet tall in its wild habitat, it typically grows to a smaller scale of 50-80 feet in cultivation. This conifer features unique forked cone bracts that distinguish it from other conifer species. Its flat, linear, dark green needles measure up to 1.5 inches long and exhibit white banding beneath. Fallen or plucked needles leave raised circular leaf scars on the twigs, and when bruised, the needles release a pleasant fragrance. As the tree matures, it acquires a narrower, pyramidal shape with branching limited to the top one-third of the tree.

While the Pseudotsuga Menziesii Var. Glauca Douglas Fir's magnificent size and timber qualities may make it a desirable forest tree, it may not be the best choice for urban or suburban landscapes. However, it thrives in northern and northwestern climates. For those in the St. Louis area, where hot and humid summers with periods of drought are common, the growth of this tree may be challenging.

In conclusion, the Pseudotsuga Menziesii Var. Glauca Douglas Fir is a visually stunning and versatile tree that brings a touch of natural beauty to any landscape. Its rich history, remarkable features, and adaptability to various climates make it an excellent choice for plantation and timber companies, as well as for individuals seeking a rugged and magnificent addition to their outdoor spaces.

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