Fir (Abies) is a genus of over 50 species of evergreen coniferous trees in the Pinaceae family. Occurring naturally in mountainous regions of North and Central America, Europe, Asia, and North Africa. Firs can be distinguished from other Pinaceae family members by the unique attachment of their needle like leaves to the twig by a base that resembles a small suction cup. Nordmann Fir are popular choices for Christmas trees.
Culture for Fir
Ideal pH depending on species, but in the range of 5.0 to 6.5 as ideal. Prefers a sheltered position in full sun, in most soil types as long as it is well drained. Height at maturity depends on the species, but it usually ranges between 10 to 80 metres.
Concerns about Fir
Known to be affected by aphids, scale, and adelgids. Two species of needle rust (Melamsporella caryophyllacearum and Pucciniastrum epilobii) has been identified on Abies species in the UK. Abies spp. are also widely affected by Phytophthora root rot.
Management Practices for Fir
Early insecticide/spray oil sprays (mid April to late May) can be implemented to control needlecast /rust issues. Three sprays need to be applied. Winter wash (Oct to Feb) to prevent reinfection. Soil drench treatments for Phytophthora are advised in early Spring at leaf expansion, or in Autumn. Analyse soils for any imbalances/unsuitable conditions. Maximizing tree vitality is important by practicing good management practices, i.e. mulching, irrigating, and improving soil conditions (air spading) where necessary.