These have good form and needle-retention with dark blue-green leaves giving a pleasant scent when crushed.
The Fraser fir branches turn slightly upward. They have good form and needle-retention. They are dark blue-green in colour. They have a pleasant scent, and excellent shipping characteristics as well.
Fraser fir was named for John Fraser (1750-1811), a Scot botanist who explored the southern Appalachian Mountains in the late 18th century. The species is sometimes called Southern balsam or Southern balsam fir. Locally Fraser fir is known as “She balsam” because of the resin filled blisters on the tree’s trunk. Red spruce, often associated with Fraser fir, is called “He balsam” and lacks the distinctive blisters.
Fraser fir is a uniformly pyramid-shaped tree which reaches a maximum height of about 80 feet and a 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.
Bark is usually Gray or Gray-brown, thin, smooth with numerous resin blisters on young trees. As trees become older, the bark tends to develop into thin, papery scales.
Fraser fir is intermediate in shade tolerance and is usually found on fertile, rocky to sandy soils which are acidic. Natural associates are red spruce, beech and yellow birch. Rhododendrons also are found in this ecosystem, and add significant beauty during their flowering season.
The combination of form, needle retention, dark blue-green colour, pleasant scent and excellent shipping characteristics has led to Fraser fir being a most popular Christmas tree species. North Carolina produces most Fraser fir Christmas trees. It requires from 7 to 10 years in the field to produce a 6-7 feet tree.