If a fir is cultivated in your own garden, then the question arises as to how fast the tree will grow. Because then it can quickly take up a lot of space in the garden and provide shade or serve as a Christmas tree in winter.

Fir trees – different varieties

When talking about a fir tree, a tree with needles is usually described colloquially. But even here there are some differences that should be noted. Above all, there is only one in the local latitudes that is also native here and grows naturally in the forests. This is the silver fir (Abies alba). The following firs have found their way to us through cultivation:

  • Balsamtanne (Abies balsamea)
  • Blue noble fir or blue fir (Abies procera ‘Glauca’)
  • Gray or Colorado Fir (Abies concolor)
  • Korean (Korean Abies)
  • Nordmanntanne (Abies nordmanniana)
  • Giant fir or coastal fir (Abies grandis)
  • Spanish fir (Abies pinsapo)
Note: Even if the Nordmann fir is one of the most well-known firs in the local gardens and in winter as a Christmas tree, it does not originally come from German forests.

Nordmann fir growth

Nordmann firs grow relatively continuously once they have been given the right location. Especially in summer the fir trees grow several centimeters taller. The following growth steps are to be observed:

  • hardly at a young age
  • first five years are used for growth
  • then the taproots grow into the earth
  • needle mass also forms
  • thereafter growth rate increases
Note: Once the tree has reached its expected height, it will stop growing. Nordmann firs will therefore be fully grown at some point.

average growth

The following average growth rates apply to Nordmann firs:

  • annual growth in height 25 – 30 cm
  • Annual width growth approx. 15 cm
  • up to a maximum height of 30 meters
  • a maximum width of 8 meters
Note: Since Nordmann firs only start to grow properly after five years, they are around two meters high after ten years. A Christmas tree in the living room here is therefore usually around nine to ten years old.

Achievable heights

The different varieties of fir trees all grow to different heights. The following achievable heights can be named:

  • Noble fir up to 80 meters
  • Helmlock (Tsuga) up to 55 meters
  • Colorado fir up to 50 meters
  • Korean fir between 10 and 18 meters
  • Coast fir up to 85 meters
  • Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) between 15 and 50 meters
  • Silver fir between 30 and 55 meters
Note: The Spanish dwarf fir (Abies pinsapo ‘Glauca Compacta’) with a height of only 80 centimeters, the Korean dwarf fir with a height of only 30 to 40 centimeters and the low dwarf balsam fir (Abies balsamea ‘Nana’) are small cultivars 40 to 60 centimeters known.

Slow and fast growing species

The slow-growing species include the Nordmann fir and the Korean fir. The latter can also be cultivated in a pot for its entire life. In all slow-growing species, the increase in height is less than 30 cm. But there are also fast-growing fir trees, such as the following:

  • Coloradotanne
  • coastal fir
  • cedar
  • more than 30 cm growth per year

Accelerating Growth

Anyone who cultivates one or the other fir tree knows that conifers usually grow all by themselves. They do not require any special care for this. But there are several ways to accelerate annual growth. For this purpose, the annual shoot growth is promoted as follows:

  • always choose the right location
  • usually shady rather than sunny
  • Sun dries out the needles
  • Air at the site should contain few pollutants
  • So not directly on a busy road
  • evenly moist, slightly loose soil
  • humus soil
  • Water young plants regularly
  • Fertilization not required
  • Conifer fertilizer still helpful for resilience

stop growth

On the other hand, it can also be the case that the fir should no longer grow because it has already become too big for the location. Stopping Nordmann fir growth is relatively difficult, but still possible. You can proceed as follows:

  • with an appropriate cut
  • especially in width can be cut back
  • Shorten taproot
  • only possible at a young age
  • not affect the tree too much
Idea: There are special pliers in well-stocked specialist shops that you can use to cut through the growth layer in the bark at various points. Interrupting the flow of sap leads to a delay in growth. However, these pliers are very expensive. You can also hire a garden specialist.

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