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Lawn & Garden

Douglas-fir, Pseudotsuga menziessii

Common Name: Douglas Fir, Red-fir, Oregon-pine, Douglas-spruce

Type: conifer

Family: Pinaceae

Zone: 4 to 6     Find Your Zone

Height: 200 to 250 feet

Width:  30 to 60

Sun exposure: full sun

Soil: wet, fertile

Leaves: evergreen

Fertilizer: Vigoro Tree, Shrub and Evergreen or Miracle Gro Evergreen Tree Spikes


As a horticulturalist, I remember going to Washington state and driving through the state and up to Vancouver Island and seeing these magnificent trees. Having not been to Oregon to see the Redwoods, this tree was certainly the largest tree, by far, that I have ever seen.


This tree has been reported to grow to 390 feet tall and have a 20 foot wide trunk. It is also the second tallest conifer in the world, next to the redwood. This tree is not truly a fir, which is why it is hyphenated. It is actually in the same family as pines. This tree grows in a specific region of the Pacific-northwest where winters are mild and wet and summers are cool and relatively dry.


The variety Pseudotsuga menziessii var. glauca is used for Christmas trees for its ability to withstand harsher conditions. It takes 7 to 10 years to grow a Christmas tree and it is one of the most used Christmas trees in the United States. It has soft needles and not very ridged branches and it handles ornaments better than a White Pine but not as well as a Frasier or Noble Fir. Put a fresh cut on the tree and keep its stand filled with water and it will last well past Christmas with minimal needle drop.


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STEP 1: Digging the hole

  • Find a location that has suitable sun exposure for your particular type of plant.
  • Dig your hole an inch or two shallower than the rootball of the plant.
  • Dig the hole twice the diameter of the rootball.
  • Scuff up the sides of the hole with a shovel to help roots break through the native soil.

STEP 2: Putting plant in hole

  • When removing the plant from the pot, check to see if the roots were circling the pot.
  • If the plant is rootbound, gently break up the roots with your hands until loosened up.
  • Set plant level, in the center of the hole.
  • Make sure the top of the rootball is just above soil level.

STEP 3: Amending the soil and filling in the hole

  • Amend the soil with proper amendments for your soil type. 
  • Incorporate 50% native soil with 50% amendment soils like garden soil, composted manure or soil conditioner.
  • Make sure dirt clods are broken up or removed from hole along with rocks.
  • Fill the hole with soils to the soil level and pack down. Do not cover top of rootball with dirt.
  • Water in thoroughly to remove air pockets.

STEP 4: Mulching and fertilizing

  • Cover the planting site with at least 2 inches of the mulch of your choice (pinestraw, cupress mulch,etc.)
  • High Phosphorus root stimulator fertilizers like Quick Start from Miracle Gro are great to use at time of planting.
  • When planting trees, a tree stake kit may be required to prevent the wind from blowing over or breaking our newly planted tree until it becomes established.

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Posted 2015-10-11T19:56:43+0000  by Ingar_HD_ATL Ingar_HD_ATL