Balsam fir is a tall coniferous evergreen tree native to the northeastern fifth of the United States and extreme southern Canada. It has a fine pyramidal form and becomes a very tall tree when mature. Its small deep green needles are soft, glossy and smell of sweet balsam. The female cones are full of resin and are brown when mature, and shatter readily when dry. This tree offers year round interest and provides habitat to wildlife, including foliage eaten by deer.
Plants excel in full to part sun and do well in slightly acidic, well-drained soils that are moist. This evergreen does not fair well in regions that are hot-summered or affected by drying winds or seasonal droughts. Balsam fir is a favorite Christmas tree. Use it in the landscape as specimen trees, very tall privacy screens, dense windbreaks or for reforestation. Often times the typical garden landscape finds this tree not fairing as nicely as it would in natural environments as is has a very shallow root system and appreciates cool soil. (source: learn2grow.com)
Genus - Abies
Species - Balsamea
Common name - Balsam Fir
Pre-Treatment - Required
Hardiness zones - 3 - 6
Height - 45'-75' / 13.7m - 22m
Spread - 10'-20' / 3.0m - 6.1m
Plant type - Medium-large Tree
Vegetation type - Evergreen
Exposure - Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade
Growth rate - Slow
Soil PH - Acidic, Neutral
Soil type - Lam, sand, well drained
Water requirements - Drought Tolerant
Landscape uses - Light Green, Dark Green
Germination rate - 40%
Leaf / Flower color - Light Green, Dark Green / --
Abies seeds need to be "overwintered" or stratified before they will germinate.
1. Soak overnight in warm water.
2. Then pre-chill (stratify) for 30 days. Seeds can be stratified in dampened peat, sand or moist vermiculite , in a plastic box or bag at 4°C or 5°C in a refrigerator. The seeds should not be frozen or in a wet medium.
Seed can be sown in early February in a greenhouse or outdoors in March. Normally will only germinate with light, but the stratification (described above) can help to increase the germination rate.
Sow Abies seeds 2-4 mm deep in the seed sowing mix.
Abies seeds will usually germinate in 21-40 days if overwintered and stratified or about 6 - 8 weeks if sown directly.
Soak seeds in cool water for two periods of 10 hours, but with a night break between them. Then after the second period, let the seeds drying out for a few hours. Next, put seeds into closed plastic bags but with little holes on the upper bag to allow gas exchanges. Place these bags in cold room/lower part of a refrigerator at +2° to +4°C. Check it out and stir it every 2 to 3 days to avoid mould development and watch also for the first appearing radicules. It usually takes 3 to 5 weeks to get about 10% of radicules to appear and then it's time for sowing.