Douglas-fir provided lumber for homes and other buildings for much of the northern part of the country but is now surpassed by other conifers. It is common in the Pacific northwest into California in the mountains and grows well along the coast from Washington to northern California. Trees there grow to 8 or 10 feet in trunk diameter in the woods. Trees are capable of growing to 700 years old but there are reports of trees more than 1,300 years old.
This is the state tree of Oregon.
The tree prefers a sunny location with a moist soil. In the eastern part of the US it grows but struggles south of zone 6. Douglas-Fir transplants best when balled and burlapped or from containers. It tolerates pruning and shearing and is extensively used as a Christmas tree. It does not tolerate dry soil for extended periods. Protect from direct wind exposure for best appearance. Some occasional watering in summer dry spells will help the tree stay vigorous, especially in the south. Root to shoot dry weight ratio averages 0.6 on a mesic site and 0.8 on a dry site. Foresters have long warned to select seed sources adapted to the planting site, especially for cold tolerance. The eastern slopes of the northern Rocky Mountains are reported to contain the hardiest of the species.
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