A wonderful way to add to any landscaping is to purchase evergreen trees. Fraser fir trees (Abies fraseri) are one of the prettiest evergreen trees and have long been a favorite of mine. A very attractive evergreen in the yard, Fraser fir trees will immediately add grace and beauty to any landscaping.
Looking very much like a balsam fir tree, many scientists believe that the Fraser fir tree and balsam fir tree were once one species. Both of these evergreens are attractive and nice additions to the landscape, however, the Fraser fir tree is a darker green and more dense than a balsam fir. I think these qualities make the Fraser fir tree more attractive.
Fraser firs are named after a Scottish botanist, John Fraser, who explored the Appalachian Mountains during the 18th century. Fraser discovered the tree and aptly named it after himself.
Fraser Fir Tree Requirements
A very adaptive evergreen, Fraser fir trees can grow at many altitudes. They grow naturally in the Southern Appalachian Mountains and into eastern Tennessee at elevations between 4,500 ft. and 7,000 ft. Fraser fir trees can grow up to 80 ft., however, the average height is between 30-50 ft. with a diameter of 1-2 ft.
Their growth rate is moderate for an evergreen which is another reason I like these trees. They prefer full-to-partial sun and do well in Zones 4-7. Fraser fir trees can grow in sandy, loam, rocky, or clay soils.
Fraser Fir Tree Attributes
What I really like about these evergreens is their pyramidal shape and their density. Since they’re only 1-2 ft. in diameter, they do not take up much space and they’re a beautiful dense tree.
The color of the needles on a Fraser fir tree is dark green while the underside is a silvery-green. If you plant a stand of Fraser fir trees and also plant one or two blue spruce trees among them, you’ll have a very attractive area of evergreens.
Caring For Your Fraser Fir Tree
These trees are easily cared for and fun to watch grow at their moderate pace. All you have to do is fertilize your Fraser fir tree just once a year in the spring. Fraser fir trees like ammonium sulphate which helps to keep the soil acidic in the 5.2 to 5.8 pH range. Look for a fertilizer that has this ingredient and it will help keep the soil in this ideal range.
Fraser fir trees are susceptible to phytophthora fungus and you can help prevent this fungus by applying Subdue MAXX twice a year in the spring and fall to the soil. You should also keep the base of the tree mulched to keep the soil moist. They don’t like excessive water, but they do like to be moist.
Where To Find Fraser Fir Trees
Your best bet is to check your local nursery for these evergreens. It’s always better to purchase plants that are local and have acclimated to your area. The next place I’d suggest you look is at your Cooperative Extension programs at your state colleges. Many of these programs grow seedlings and you can purchase them very cheap from the Cooperative Extension program. In some cases, the seedlings may be free if they’ve overplanted a certain species. These seedlings will only be about a foot or so high, but Fraser fir is a moderate grower and you will see them grow quickly.
Thirdly, there are many Fraser fir trees grown in North Carolina and many of those nurseries sell Fraser firs. A reliable website is the Nurserymen.com and you can order seedlings online by clicking Nurserymen.
Although Fraser fir trees are attractive by themselves, I prefer them in a stand. They look so well together and if you purchase seedlings it’s an inexpensive way to add to your landscaping.
Sources: National Christmas Tree Association