Grand Fir

(Abies grandis)

From Christmas trees to Christmas wrapping
Popular in the Cascade range, the grand fir is often found growing alongside Douglas-fir and can even reach up to 300 feet in height. It’s a good-smelling tree with a thick foliage of citrus-scented needles, making it ideal for Christmas trees and decorations. Besides serving as decoration, the soft wood from the grand fir is often used for papermaking and packing crates. Long ago, some Native Americans used the inner bark for treating colds and fevers and used the needles in tea.

In addition to growing alongside Douglas-firs, the grand fir also grows well with western hemlock, ponderosa pine and Engelmann spruce. It’s shade-tolerant and prefers cool, moist sites from the valley floor up into the foothills, and survives well up to 5,000 feet.

The grand fir features thick foliage of flattened, glossy green needles 1-2 inches in length with two white striations on the undersides. Cones typically measure 3-5 inches long and 1-2 inches wide with 150 short scales that encase small winged seeds. The grand fir’s thin bark makes it susceptible to fire. Without frequent fires, the grand fir would likely be the predominant conifer species in old-growth forests on the valley floor.

The understory of a grand fir forest includes white alders, huckleberries, elk sedges and pinegrass. Grazers like deer, black bear and elk tend to love these areas.

Although it can survive dry spells, it tends to love cool weather and can even survive harsh winter conditions with temperatures down to -100° F! This is one reason they also do well in British Columbia and Montana where the winters are harsh.

Shelterwood cuttings are preferred for grand fir for even-aged management, because regeneration and early growth are best in partial shade, although it does regenerate well following seed tree or clearcutting. Pole-size and larger grand fir respond well to thinning and selection cuttings.


9755 SW Barnes Rd., Suite 210        
Portland, OR 97225        
Phone: 971-673-2944        
Fax: 971-673-2946

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