Rocky Mountains Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca)


The Rocky Mountain Douglas Fir is a breathtaking evergreen tree that adds beauty and elegance to any landscape. With its pyramidal shape and vibrant green foliage, it is sure to captivate your senses. Native to North America, this medium to fast-growing tree is a popular choice for both ornamental purposes and as a living Christmas tree.

The Rocky Mountain Douglas Fir emanates a delightful aroma, especially during warm weather, creating a pleasant atmosphere in your outdoor space. It thrives in full to partial sun, making it adaptable to various lighting conditions. Additionally, this tree is moderately drought-resistant, requiring a medium amount of water to flourish. Bring the majesty of the Rocky Mountains to your backyard with the awe-inspiring Rocky Mountain Douglas Fir.

*This species produces some of the world’s tallest trees. Under optimal conditions, specimens have grown to over 90 metres at maturity. Consider where you plant this tree, as it may become enormous over time. Plant far enough away from structures, well-travelled pathways and driveways, powerlines, and underground pipes.

The Douglas Fir, also known as Oregon Pine, is a medium-sized to the very tall evergreen green tree containing six species and six recognised varieties and sub-species with a geographical distribution across East Asia and Western North America. It is an important commercial tree grown widely across Europe and New Zealand, where it has naturalised and become a weed of concern.

Sequoia Valley Farms stocks two varieties of Douglas Fir, both native to western North America. The Coastal Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii) is native from Yukon, Canada, down through Washington and Oregon into Northern California. It is the tallest of all Douglas Fir species and grows in pure stands and mixed Pine, Fir, and Redwood forests.

The Rocky Mountain Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca) is found following the interior Rocky Mountains, stretching from Central British Columbia and Southern Alberta down through Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, and northern Mexico. The Rocky Mountain Douglas Fir is a smaller tree compared to its coastal cousin, grows in various environmental conditions and elevations, and tolerates the drier conditions and climatic extremes seen in the American interior.

 The Douglas Fir is not a true fir, spruce, pine, or hemlock but rather a distinct species distantly related to Larches (Larix) and Cathaya (Cathaya argyrophylla), which has only one extant species in its genus. Douglas Firs became a distinct species approximately 70 million years ago, splitting from their closely related cousins about 130 million years ago.

The Douglas Firs prefer acidic or neutral well-draining soils and display the ability to adapt to various sites and conditions, often forming deep taproots in drier locations.

Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca

The somewhat smaller variety of Douglas Fir and arguably more tolerant of the Australian environment, this medium-sized tree will typically reach 35 to 40 metres high in nature and usually get between 12 to 18 metres high with a spread of 4.5 to 7.5 metres in a garden setting.

This subspecies is identified by its yellow-green to blue-green foliage. It has a medium growth rate, growing around 20 to 30 cm per annum. Trees will reach maximum height in 50 to 60 years in optimal settings.

The Rocky Mountain Douglas Fir tolerates severe and heavy frosts and snowy and dry winter conditions with ease. It has a medium water requirement and will tolerate some drier conditions in Australia. If experiencing drought conditions, mulch and provide light irrigation to maintain health. It prefers an open, sunny position reminiscent of its natural environment.

This subspecies is suitable as a windbreak and for shelterbelts. It is also used as a living Christmas Tree, as it has a pyramidal shape and a more open structure when compared to the Coastal Douglas Fir. It is also used as an ornamental, or planted in groups as a feature.

In the past, Indigenous people used this tree medicinally to treat mouth sores and as an ointment. The oil and resin from this tree are used as a fragrance.

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Find out more about the Rocky Mountain Douglas Fir by visiting the Montana Field Guide.


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