The fast-growing Douglas-fir tree reaches great heights and is ideal for renewing and regenerating forest and woodland areas.
Originally found in North America, the Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) is spelled with a hyphen because actually, it is not a true fir tree. It was introduced in Europe early in the 19th century by David Douglas, a Scottish botanist and collector who first reported its extraordinary nature and potential. The Douglas-fir grows quickly, thrives in cold conditions and can grow to an enormous 100 metres tall.
We love to plant the Douglas-fir in cold and wet regions because of its strong resistance to the chilly conditions and late frost. It even thrives in heavy snow and high winds and is the natural home to many animal and plant species.
The Douglas-fir is enormous and can grow up to 100 metres in its native North American soil. Here in Europe, it reaches great heights of up to 50 metres.
This durable, softwood tree has robust foliage with linear leaves that are 2–3 cm long. Those leaves are soft to touch and feature very specific white stripes on the back. Crush them and they smell a little like lemongrass.
Known for its rapid growth, the Douglas-fir’s branches spread over time and its smooth grey bark gets thicker. It lives to a ripe old age too, with an incredible lifespan of 300–500 years. The Douglas-fir’s height and straight trunk makes it a natural robust and durable tree. It is resistant to rot too, a precious quality as we look to produce wood that is built to last and give back over many years.
Finally, the Douglas-fir is monoecious, which means it has both male and female reproductive organs. Its male flowers are yellow and spherical, and its female flowers are longer with green and purple tones.
The Douglas-fir is a resilient tree that can grow in all conditions, from the cold of winter to the intense heat of summer. However, when it is very young, it needs plenty of light to prosper and in its early years, it can succumb to winter droughts, violent winds or even a late frost.
Originally, the Douglas-fir grew in regions where the climate is mild and humid. In Europe, it is sensitive to the dryness of the air, especially when young. We plant Douglas-fir in spring and autumn, making sure that they are positioned in the sun or mid-shade.
This is a tree that will grow in all types of well-drained soil, so long as it is humid, free from chalk and has low acidity.
The wood from the Douglas-fir tree is hard-wearing and perfect for high quality building materials. With a life-expectancy of up to 35 years, the wood lasts over time and the width and length of its trunk give it a gorgeous finish. The Douglas-fir is the ideal wood for construction and is ideal for traditional roof frameworks.
You won’t be surprised to find the Douglas-fir represents resilience and durability. Perhaps that makes it the ideal gift for a special wedding anniversary or long-standing friendship?
All kinds of people give the gift of becoming a tree owner through EcoTree. Typically, they choose the Douglas-fir because it symbolises a relationship that is built to last.