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How to Plant Fraser Fir Seedlings

Fraser fir trees grow naturally into the perfect pyramid shape associated with so many evergreen trees. They are widely grown on farms for use as Christmas trees. They are winter hardy as far north as USDA Zone 4, although the climate must also be moist and not subject to constant, desiccating winds. In windy areas, grow them in a protected nursery garden for a few years and then transplant the trees to their final location. Fraser fir trees can also be planted in the center row of a windbreak so that the outer rows of trees and shrubs provide some protection from harsh winds.

Choose a site in full sun to partial shade, although Fraser fir trees do best in full sun. The soil should be rich, moist, and full of organic matter like compost and peat moss. They do not grow well in heavy clay soils.

Remove the roots of the seedling from its pot or other wrappings. Soak the roots of the plant in a bucket of water while you prepare the planting site. Do not soak them longer than 8 hours or the roots may be damaged

Remove all weeds and other vegetation at and within a few feet of the planting site.

Add soil amendments. Dig a hole about 2 feet wide and 2 feet deep, placing the removed soil in a wheelbarrow. Mix two 5-gallon buckets of peat moss and one half to full 5-gallon bucket of compost with the soil you removed from the planting hole.

Use a digging fork or pitchfork to loosen the soil at the bottom of the planting hole. Backfill the hole with the improved soil.

Dig a planting hole in the improved soil that is about twice the size of the root ball of the Fraser fir seedling that you are planting. Carefully put the roots of the seedling into the prepared hole. Gently spread out any roots so that they will grow toward the outside of the hole.

Backfill the hole, gently firming down the soil as you go to remove any pockets of air around the roots. Bury the stem of the young tree up to its bottommost branches. Firm the surface of the soil with your foot, using gentle but firm pressure.

Make a saucer-shaped depression of the planting site so that it slopes toward the seedling. Start by making a ridge of soil around the perimeter and then slope the surface area of the hole toward the plant so that water drains toward the Fraser fir and its new root system.

Water in the new seedling so that the soil is thoroughly moistened to the depth of the roots. For a very small seedling (less than 12 inches high), use a hand watering can. For larger seedlings (more than 12 inches high) set a hose near the base of the plant to release a tiny stream water and leave the hose there for approximately 60 minutes.

Water the equivalent of 1 inch of rainfall per week for the first year of the tree's life in your garden. When watering, water to a depth of at least 12 inches to encourage the tree to form a deep root system.

Mulch the planting hole with a 2- to 6-inch layer of pine needles, peat moss or shredded pine bark. These organic mulches will increase the acidity of the soil, which is beneficial for evergreens.


Do not fertilize newly planted evergreen seedlings until they have been growing in their new locations for two growing seasons. Thereafter, fertilize by spreading finished compost or well-rotted manure around the base of the plant.

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