Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Grow Fraser Fir Trees

Fraser fir trees grow to a height of 30 to 50 feet and spread 15 to 25 feet. Their nearly perfect pyramidal shape makes them ideal lawn specimens. Fraser fir trees are native to the Appalachian Mountains. Because they are indigenous to higher elevations, they prefer cool, moist climates and well-drained soil with a pH that is on the acid side. They are also susceptible to drought and greatly benefit from artificial watering in addition to natural rainfall.

Protect young Fraser trees from drying winds or perpetually dry sites. If possible, grow young trees in a protected nursery garden for the first 3 to 4 years of life before transplanting the trees to their final locations. Grow them in a protected area where it is convenient to water them regularly for the first few years of their lives.

Spread a 2- to 6-inch layer of high-acid, organic mulch over the soil. Mulch will keep the soil evenly moist and reduce the ability of most types of weeds to germinate and grow through the mulch. The use of high-acid organic mulches, such as peat moss, pine needles or shredded pine bark, increases the acidity of the soil, which benefits Fraser fir trees.

Water weekly during the tree's first year of life in your yard and every other week after that. When you water, water deeply so that the soil is saturated to a depth of at least 12 inches for trees that are 2 to 3 years old and to a depth of at least 18 inches for older trees. This encourages the roots to grow deep down into the soil, which will help them thrive during times of drought.

Fertilize sparingly with organic fertilizer. Remove the mulch, and then spread 1 to 2 inches of finished compost, leaf mold (decomposed fallen autumn leaves, sometimes called “leaf litter”) or well-rotted manure evenly around the base of the tree, all the way out to its drip line, preferably in early spring. Replace the mulch.

Prune in mid- to late spring, only to remove dead or diseased branches. Once a branch on an evergreen is removed, one will not grow back in its place, so make your cuts carefully.

Protect against winter browning by “hardening off” the trees in autumn. Water Fraser fir trees regularly during the growing season. Stop watering after the first part of September but allow the trees to receive any natural rainfall. Give them a good watering before the first hard frost and again just after the second hard frost. This will encourage them to harden off before freezing weather sets in for good.


Evergreens require little fertilization. A small amount of organic matter will provide the nourishment your Fraser fir tree needs and help increase the organic matter in the soil as it decays.

Garden Guides