Content Detail

Douglas-fir is excellent as a specimen plant or used en masse for screening. Although not a true fir, it is a beautiful evergreen for the larger landscape. It has a conical shape, similar to that seen on spruces.

  • Family (English) Pine
  • Family (botanic) Pinaceae
  • Planting site Residential and parks
  • Tree or plant type Tree
  • Foliage Evergreen (foliage year-round)
  • Native locale North America
  • Size range Large tree (more than 40 feet)
  • Mature height 40-80 feet
  • Mature width 12-20 feet
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago)
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Road salt
  • Season of interest early winter, midwinter, late winter, early spring, mid spring, late spring, early summer, midsummer, late summer, early fall, mid fall, late fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Inconspicuous
  • Shape or form Pyramidal
  • Growth rate Moderate, Slow
  • Transplants well Yes
  • Wildlife Birds, Mammals
  • Has cultivars Yes

Size and Form:

A broadly conical to narrow, pyramidal evergreen tree which has open, tiered branches that are slightly pendulous. It grows 40 to 80 feet high and 15 to 20 feet wide in landscape situations. In its native habitat it can reach 150 feet high. Excellent specimen plant or used en masse to create screening.

Native geographic location and habitat:

It is native to western North America from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific northwest.

Bark color and texture:

The mature bark is thick and fissured and has a reddish-brown coloration.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

Leaves are evergreen needles, spirally arranged on branches or two-ranked. Blue-green to silvery gray-green, shiny needles have two white bands on underside. Needles smell of camphor when crushed.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Monoecious, male flowers are pendulous along stem, female flowers are on tips of branches.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Oblong, tan cones, 3 to 4 inches long with conspicuous three-pointed bracts protruding between scales. Cones mature in one year.

Plant care:

Douglas-fir grows best in moist, neutral to acidic soil in full sun. It does not like hot, dry sites, and prefers a cooler climate.

List of pests, diseases and tolerances:

Stressed trees are susceptible to needle diseases and insect problems.

Variety glauca (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca):

Slightly more compact than species with upright branches and bluish-green needles.

Fastigiata (Pseudotsuga menziesii ‘Fastigiata’ ):

Spire-like, tight branching, distinctly ascending, green-gray needles.

Pendula (Pseudotsuga menziesii ‘Pendula’ ):

Unusual form with branches held close to the trunk with  twisted, cascading stems. Lateral branches are spreading and drooping. Green needle color.


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