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The concolor fir is a medium growing (12 inches per year) compact evergreen. Its needles are 11/2 inches long and are positioned on the topside of the stem and point upwards. They are usually a green blue silver color and when crushed have a smell of citrus or oranges and is quite pleasant. It does not shed its needles but hold them for 10 years or longer, and holds its bottom branches to the ground. It is a native of the high plains, low humidity, rocky mountain areas from New Mexico to Wyoming and commonly grows with the Colorado spruce and Douglas Fir.
The concolor fir will grow 30 to 100 ft tall and 15 to 25 feet wide and has a shallow spreading root system. Its branches are not quite as strong as spruces but with its pyramid shape, snow and ice usually cause little damage. In the wild this tree can live 100 years and longer but outside of its normal range one could expect 40 or more years to be an old tree. Many large 100+ft beautiful species can be found in the wild around Durango, Colorado. Deer will east this species when other preferred browse is unavailable.
The concolor fir will grow in hardiness zones from 3-6 and will do quite well in poor dry soils, but should not be planted in clay or poorly drained soils. Does well with 15” of rain per year and does well in higher soil PH than any other Fir. I have seen many beautiful plants growing along gravel roads where the soil PH had to be above 8.5.
The concolor fir has been planted throughout the US and is used mainly for landscaping. Has been planted in the past in windbreaks because of its nice color and availability. This tree needs a well drained soil to do well, in most places east of Nebraska has not done well in the long term for windbreaks as we get too much rain and humidity. When planted on level ground that is not well drained problems occur on wet years. The roots become too saturated and die back occurs and have seen 20 ft tall tree blow over and the root system is very small being only 2ft across. Problems with canker and needlecast diseases can also occur when planted too close in windbreaks restricting sun and wind. For best results plant on a well drained soil and open the spacing up if planting outside its natural range.
A 2-ft tall-potted tree can be 6 ft tall in 5 years, in well-drained soil with adequate moisture, and weed and grass control around the base of the tree. Spacing–single row14 ft apart, Double row 16 ft between rows and plants, Multiple rows– 20 ft or more between plants and rows.
The white (concolor) fir is not a recommended windbreak tree east of Nebraska. In multiple row windbreaks east of Nebraska life will be short due to spacing. soil, and disease problems.. It can be a beautiful tree, and if you love this tree, plant one in your back yard and one in your front yard but plant other species in your windbreak if east of Nebraska. We do not consider this to be a long life windbreak tree east of Nebraska.