Fraser Fir (Abies fraseri)
In many respects, Fraser Fir and balsam Fir are quite similar, although the geographic ranges of the two species do not overlap. The Fraser Fir is a pyramidal tree with stiff, horizontal branches and very resinous, gray or pale yellowish brown stems. It has shiny dark green leaves that are white-banded underneath. Now considered one of the best Christmas trees for it beauty and ability to hold its needles for a fairly long time indoors. Like the Balsam Fir it does not do well in warm dry climates.
Fraser Fir reaches a maximum height of about 80 feet and a trunk diameter of 1-1.5 feet. Strong branches are turned slightly upward which gives the tree a compact appearance.
Leaves (needles) are flattened, dark-green with a medial groove on the upper side and two broad silvery-white bands on the lower surface. These bands consist of several rows of stomata (pores). Leaves are 1/2 to one inch long, have a broad circular base, and are usually dark green on the upper surface and lighter on the lower surface. On lower branches, leaves are two-ranked (occurring in two opposite rows). On upper twigs, leaves tend to curl upward forming a more "U-shaped" appearance.
The combination of form, needle retention, dark blue-green color, pleasant scent and excellent shipping characteristics has led to Fraser Fir being a most popular Christmas tree species. North Carolina produces the majority of Fraser Fir Christmas trees. It requires from 7 to 10 years in the field to produce a 6-7 feet tree.
Fraser Fir Choices
There are a few cultivars, especially some with much smaller forms. Prostrata is a slow growing, spreading, mounded tree that grows only to 4 to 5 feet tall. Klein's Nest is a dwarf and Prostrata has horizontal branching that gives the plant a spreading appearance.