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Abies Genus

Fir

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General Needs

  • LightFull sun, Part shade or Shade
  • HardinessFully hardy (min -15°C)
  • Soil pH5.0 to 7.0
  • WaterMoist

Description

Abies genus (Fir). This genus contains over 40 species of evergreen conifers ranging from cool climate mountain areas of the Northern hemisphere to China and North West America. A few species are from the tropics on the high mountains of Central America and South East Asia. These are often referred to as the 'true firs', and are sometimes known as silver firs to distinguish them from the Picea genus, which have pendent not upright cones.

Abies are tall conifers with whorled branches. The spirally arranged leaves are glossy mid-dark green, needle-like and flattened, are usually soft and often have silvery bands beneath. Abies will bear erect cones that ripen in their first autumn to release seeds and scales. As a conifer, Abies are distinguishable from other trees and shrubs by producing seeds which are exposed on the scales of fruits. As in most conifers there are woody fruits called cones and needle-like leaves.

Characteristics

Evergreens, Fragrants

Other common names

Silver fir

Origin

Europe N.Africa, Asia, North America.

The name of the genus is derived the Latin 'abies' - fir tree.

Interest and use

Specimen trees, windbreaks and timber.

Cultivation

Grow Abies in fertile moist well-drained soil. If the conifer produces more than one leader, to maintain the general conical habit remove all but one leader. To restrict the height of the plant, the leader can be cut back.

Propagation

Abies seed can be sown in autumn or spring (but forms selected for leaf colour do not come true). Evergreen current growth cuttings in autumn to spring. Deciduous softwood cuttings in summer.

Pests, diseases or disorders

Honey fungus may be a problem, although this genus is fairly resistant. Conifer spinning mite may cause defoliation. Prone to adelgids.

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