Nordmann Fir needles

The Nordman Fir is a beautiful tree and the most popular Christmas tree in it’s native Europe, for good reason. It has stunning foliage, a beautiful shape, and excellent needle retention. The soft, bushy scented branches have needles that give off a citrus smell when crushed.

Nordmann Fir just so happens to grow well here in Illinois, but will get quite large as the 60’ plus specimens growing at the village of Lisle’s Morton Arboretum will attest to. It thrives in our neutral to somewhat alkaline clay soils and can grow in full shade to full sun. It’s hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 through 7, and has no serious insects or diseases that have expressed themselves to date in Illinois. Additionally, it is grown in parts of the South where Phytopthora root rot has decimated Frazer Fir Christmas tree plantings. Nordmann Fir is highly resistant.

Obviously, this tree will need lots of room for it’s ultimate mature size. However, it will get there slowly being a slow to moderate grower once established.  This tree is kind of a “European Secret” that deserves to be more widely planted. So far, only a few northeastern Illinois nurseries offer it, but that will likely change as the tree’s popularity increases.

Nordmann Fir is a valuable “undiscovered species” to include for planting where adequate space exists. It is very much an additional species to include in our “Urban Diversified Tree Species List”.

So this Friday on Arbor Day, go out and plant a Nordmann Fir or whatever your favorite tree may be!

Harold Hoover,BCMA

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