7 Fascinating Fir Tree Facts You Should Know

Updated: Nov. 28, 2023

Looking to grow an evergreen or just curious about trees? Learn fascinating fir tree facts about these members of the conifer family.

1. Fir Tree Needles Are Softer

Cardinal In Fraser FirBeyondMyLens/Getty Images
Male northern cardinal

Fir and spruce needles are attached to twigs one by one, while pines grow needles in bunches. Fir tree needles are soft and flat, while spruce needles are stiff and angular.

Check out the best types of evergreen trees to grow.

2. Fraser Firs Are Long Lasting

Christmas Tree Fraser Fir Isolated On WhiteLiliboas/Getty Images
Fraser fir

Lasting seven weeks or more, Fraser firs typically retain their needles longest after being cut.

Grow a dwarf Colorado blue spruce for evergreen beauty.

3. Balsam Firs Have a Slow Growth Rate

Balsam firs grow about 12 inches a year, taking nine to 10 years to get to the ideal Christmas tree height. So be patient!

A Norfolk Island pine is an adorable mini Christmas tree.

4. Douglas Firs Tower Over Other Trees

Douglas firs reach a height of 300 feet or more in the wild. Despite the name, this tree is not a true fir, pine or spruce.

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5. Look to the Cones for a Tree Clue

Spruce Branch And Cone. Fir Christmas Tree. Green Pine, Spruce Branch With Needles. Isolated On White Background. Close Up Top View, High Resolution.Andrei Vasilev/Getty Images

Fir tree cones stand upright from branches rather than hanging down. They vary in size from 1 1/2 to 10 inches.

Learn fascinating facts about conifer trees.

6. Centuries Long Lifespan

Firs are generally long-lived, with the Pacific silver fir sometimes surviving 800 years.

Plant these small evergreen shrubs for year-round curb appeal.

7. High Elevation Fir Trees

Bnbbyc17 Mary Lou Jubin 2, fir tree factsCourtesy Mary Lou Jubin
Eastern bluebird in Fraser fir

Fraser firs are mountain trees. They grow wild only in the Appalachians at altitudes of 4,500 feet or higher.

Next, discover 8 types of Christmas trees you can grow.