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Best grown in medium to wet, well-drained soils in full sun. Does best in locations with abundant air and soil moisture.
Douglas fir is a very large conifer that grows 50-80′ tall in cultivation, but to 300+’ tall in the wild. Unique forked cone bracts distinguish this tree from all other conifers. The species is indigenous to coastal areas and up to 5500′ in elevation in the mountains from British Columbia south to central California. Cones (to 4.5″ long) are pendulous with protruding trident-shaped bracts. Flat, linear, spirally-arranged, dark green needles (to 1.5″ long) with white banding beneath. Fallen or plucked needles leave raised circular leaf scars on the twigs. Needles are fragrant when bruised. Narrow pyramidal shape with branching to the ground when young. Trees become more cylindrical with age as they lose their lower branching, with older trees typically having branching only on the top 1/3 of the tree. This is an important timber tree in the Pacific Northwest. Pseduotsuga menziesii var. glauca is the Rocky Mountain variety of this tree. It grows at higher elevations (to 9500′) with a slower growth rate, and has shorter cones (to 3″), blue-green needles and better winter hardiness. Var. glauca is the commonly cultivated variety of this tree for areas outside of the Pacific Northwest, and is clearly a better selection for midwestern climates than the species because of its better cold tolerance (species is hardy to USDA Zone 6, but var. glauca is hardy to Zone 4). Pseudo means false and tsuga is the genus for hemlock in reference to the resemblance of this tree to hemlocks. Zones 4 to 7.