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Noble FirAbies procera

  • Northern Red Oak - Quercus rubra
The Noble fir is a large, narrow tree with a long, clear, columnar trunk and conical crown with short, nearly horizontal branches. Young trees have a conical habit. The bark is gray brown and smooth becoming dark gray, brown or red brown, slightly thickened and furrowed into irregular, long, scaly plates. Compared to other trees, the bark is thin. The needles are bluish-green with whitish lines, grooved above, ridged below, and spreading in two rows, The immature cones are green turning purple brown. The mature cones are big and heavy with sharp tipped papery bracts. The Noble fir grows best in full sun and deep, moist, well drained soil, but will grow on thin, rocky soils if moisture is not limited. It is intolerant of alkaline soils, windy conditions, and shade. The main root is slow growing, lateral roots develop rapidly.

Hardiness Zones

The noble fir can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 5–6. View Map

Tree Type

This is an evergreen tree, keeping its foliage year-round.

Mature Size

The noble fir grows to a height of 50–100' and a spread of around 30' at maturity.

Growth Speed Slow to Medium Growth Rate

This tree grows at a slow to medium rate, with height increases of anywhere from less than 12" to 24" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun and partial shade are best for this tree, meaning it prefers a minimum of four hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The noble fir prefers deep, moist, cool, well-drained, acidic soil but will tolerate thin, rocky soils with good moisture.

Attributes

This tree:
  • Features needles spreading in 2 rows that are bluish-green with white lines and 1–1½" in length. They are distinctly curved at the tip, grooved above and ridged beneath.
  • Yields cylindrical cones 6–10" in length that start out green, turning purplish-brown at maturity. The cones are mostly covered with papery green bracts and are held upright on the topmost branches. Seed crops vary with location from every 1–6 years.
  • Develops bark that is gray-brown and smooth, becoming dark gray, brown or reddish-brown and furrowed into irregular, long, scaly plates. Its bark is think compared to other trees.
  • Grows in a pyramidal shape.

Wildlife Value

The seeds are food for chickadees, jays, nuthatches and many other bird species. The seeds are also eaten by Douglas squirrels, mice and other rodents, and the bark is browsed by black bears. In addition to food, the noble fir provides cover and thermal protection for wildlife.

History/Lore

The Noble fir gets its name from the Latin Abies nobilis. It held this scientific name for a long time until it was discovered the name was pre-empted by another species. Other common names are red fir, white fir, and larch.