Best grown in rich, moist, slightly acidic, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Best in full sun. Trees grow poorly in heavy clay soils. Trees are native to cool, often foggy, mountain climates, and are not recommended for planting in the hot and humid summer conditions south of USDA Zone 7.
Fraser fir is native to a very small area of the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina and Tennessee extending into the southwestern corners of Virginia and West Viginia. It is typically found at elevations ranging from 4500’ to 6900’. It is the only fir that is indigenous to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Although rare in nature, Fraser fir is one of the most popular Christmas trees sold in commerce today, and is commonly grown in tree farms for that purpose. This is a narrow, pyramidal, evergreen conifer with a spire-like crown. It grows to 30-50’ tall over time with a spread of 10-25’. It is very similar to balsam fir (Abies balsamea), the primary difference being in the bracts of the cone scales. Flattened, shiny, dark green needles (to 1” long) are white-banded beneath. Needles are densely borne on resinous stems. Resin blisters may appear on the bark, giving rise to a regional common name of she-balsam for this tree. Seed cones are purple with conspicuously protruding bracts. As is distinctive with the firs, the cones appear upright on the branches.
Specific epithet and common name honor John Fraser (1750-1811), Scottish botanist and plant collector, who discovered this plant and introduced it to Britain.
No serious insect or disease problems. Balsam woolly adelgid has been responsible for killing a number of trees in the wild. Additional insect pests include bark beetles, spruce budworms, aphids, bagworms and scale. Spider mites may occur in hot conditions. Disease problems include root rots, needle rust and twig blight Trees are generally intolerant of urban pollution.
Specimen fir for the landscape. Ornamental yard tree. Popular commercially grown Christmas tree.