- Beautifully Soft Needles
- Outstanding Pyramidal Form
- Fast Growing
- Large Scale Tree
- Native Evergreen from Western North America
- Deer Seem to Leave Douglas Fir Alone
For a robust accent in your landscape, try the excellent evergreen tree Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii). It features a very symmetrical, upright pyramidal shape and looks great in every season. It even smells wonderful!
You might see the name sometimes written as Douglas-Fir or Douglasfir, because it’s actually not a Fir. This beautiful tree is actually a member of the genus Pseudotsuga, which means “False Hemlock”.
Any way you want to call it, we bet you’ll love running your hand over the soft, blue-green needles. They aren’t stiff and pokey like other evergreens. Kids like to pet them, too.
This is also one of the fastest growing evergreen trees available. It will grow about 3 feet a year to quickly provide a wonderful focal point or privacy screen for you and your family.
It’s lovely in its natural form, so no need to prune. Older trees can develop those romantic, pendulous lower branches that sway in the slightest breeze.
Create fun memories by decorating it for Christmas every year! Cute pine cones grow 3 – 4 inches long and can be used for fall and winter decorations, too.
Local birds love to nest in the shelter of a Douglas Fir. But deer seem to leave this tree alone.
Native Douglas Fir trees are found in the wild; from the slopes of the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Northwest. The oldest specimen is nearly 1500 years old. As it ages, the fissured, reddish-brown bark brings a tremendous amount of visual interest.
It’s a particularly hardy tree and grows in a variety of soils. For a fast-growing, hardy evergreentree that is versatile and care free, you can’t go wrong with a Douglas Fir.
How to Use Douglas Fir in the Landscape
This is a terrific specimen plant or focal point for larger landscapes. If you have the space, try an informal group of 3, 5 or 7 in an oversized lawn planting.
Imagine you are recreating the look of the Mountain West, and let your creativity run wild.
For Douglas Firs to touch and make a solid screen, plant them 12 to 15 feet apart. For the trees to stand alone as individual trees, give them at least 18 feet apart.
For the most natural look, try to vary the distances between them, and don’t plant them in a straight line. Rather, stagger the trees off-center, keeping the design loose.
Keep your new trees in their nursery containers and play around with the spacing. Far easier to move potted plants around to make sure you love the design, before you plant your trees in your soil. It’s a good idea to check from various vantage points.
Site this planting where you’ll enjoy it from your deck. You want to be able to see it from inside your home. Leave room for a rustic fire pit, hammock or picnic table in the shade of your trees.
Douglas Fir has a big personality and can carry a “lot of look.” Try mixing it with other evergreens, including smaller upright Junipers and Pine trees. Don’t forget about the rounded evergreen shrubs, like Mugo Pine to soften the foreground.
They make a magnificent backdrop for smaller accent trees, like Eastern Redbud, Pink Flowering Dogwood or Japanese Maple. They stand up to exterior sculpture without stealing the show.
Partner with rugged Ornamental Grasses and the bright stems of Red Twigged Dogwood. Or, use a complementary color – like the chartreuse green of First Editions® Tiger Eyes® Sumac.
Another classic use for these trees is as windbreaks and in shelterbelts. Plant them in staggered, zig-zagging rows to create an interesting living fence to cut down on wind and blowing snow in big, open areas. Keep them tightly planted about 12 feet apart for the fastest screen.
It’s best practice to mix other plants in these windbreaks, and we’ve got a huge variety of trees and large shrubs that will work together beautifully. Be sure to add Lilacs for fragrance and flowers.
Many like to use soft and natural looking Douglas Fir to screen out ugly views and buildings along an existing fence. No matter how you install your planting design, you’ll easily create a beautiful backdrop for your property.
Tips for Care
Plant Douglas Fir where it will receive at least 4 hours of sunlight a day. They love cooler climates.
They do demand a very well-drained soil, or they will not perform well for you. Moist, well-drained soils are best.
They won’t tolerate standing water. If you see puddles that remain on your planting site, you’ll need to improve the drainage. Bring in additional soil and mound it up 24 inches above the soil line. Plant directly in that mound.
Careful, regular watering is needed for the entire first season to keep your plants stress free. Once established, they can be very drought tolerant. After all, you will see them growing right out of the rocks in the Rocky Mountains.
It’s usually best to allow the plants to grow naturally, but you can shorten up the new growth by simply breaking or snipping part of that new expanding growth, if needed. You could also prune back excessive long growth from the previous season in early spring, if necessary.