Fraser Fir

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.

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