Abies (evergreen conifers), such as Abies koreana, and Abies fraseri, are two popular types of fir trees. Abies koreana and fraseri are members of the Pine Family (Pinaceae). Find facts and information on both of these unique evergeen firs.
General Facts and Info on Abies
Plants in the Abies genus provide year-round color and structure for the garden. Firs grow very large, but quite slowly. They need clean air and cool summers to survive. They are typically a northern or mountaintop genus that has shallow roots systems. New growth, or candles, are lighter green than old growth and appear at the stem ends.
Firs prefer full sun, and moist, well-drained acid soil, and good air circulation. You can control the size and shape of firs by twisting off no more than half the new growth, a technique known as candling. Watch out for rust, root rots, conifer aphids, woolly adelgid, and bark beetles.
Abies koreana grows 25’ h x 10’ w. It is often used as windbreaks, screening, borders, and specimens in large lawns. They are hardy in Zones 5-6 (7). It has rich, dark-needled leaves, which make a great looking backdrop in a mixed conifer border. The leaves have notched tips with deep, glossy green tops and white bottoms. The bark is grayish brown and has showy, upright, 2”−3”, dark violet cones that appear in late spring, then tan with age, even on young trees.
It has an attractive tall and narrow conical habit branched to the ground that looks good year round. It has more heat tolerance than most firs. It is crucial to plant this tree in the correct place.
Abies fraseri does well in Zones 4-7 and grows 30’ h x 20’w. The fraseri fir makes an excellent cut tree for Christmas because the fresh, cone-shaped, young specimens hold their needles when well watered. They require full sun and an acid, moist soil. Abies fraseri is found in high altitudes in the southwestern U.S.
It is used as a landscape specimen, as large hedges, and provides a wildlife habitat. It is intolerant of hear, drought, and high pH (alkaline) soils. This is not a deer resistant tree, so it should be shielded from deer.