Noble Fir Plant Profile: Everything to Know about the Gorgeous Coniferous Tree

Noble fir becomes the largest conifer that has unique cones to give an attractive appeal to the landscapes. Growing this pyramidal-shaped tree will be simple as you can provide the proper condition as it thrives in the hardiness zones.

Learn further information from the article below.


The Appearance of Noble Fir Tree

Noble fir is tallest of the true fir genus Abies. Its generic name, Abies, means rising-one, from the ancient Latin abeo, meaning tall tree or ship.
Noble fir tree

The pyramidal-shaped noble fir is composed of a tall narrow trunk with short branches. It has a pleasant aroma and a cone-shaped crown.

This evergreen tree can be easily recognized from the needle and cone characteristics. Then, due to its capability of growing in barren forest areas, the fir features high quality and sturdy wood.


Noble fir has pale grey to purplish, smooth bark becoming dark gray, brown or reddish-brown and furrowed into irregular, long, scaly plates.
Noble fir bark

The outer tissues of the noble fir have a gray hue and tender surface when they are still young. Those layers also produce a natural yellowish-brown substance called resin that resembles blisters.

As the tree matures, the barks form narrow, flat, and elongated structures. Moreover, the gray-brown layer makes many wrinkles.


Noble fir cones have distinctive whiskery bracts that protrude beyond the scales.
Male cones noble fir

Different from other firs, this plant has whiskery leaves borne on the floral axis that attached to the farther side of the scales. Meanwhile, the erect cones locate on each branch close to the top of the tree. They grow at a size of 10 to 15 centimeters long.

These cylindrical cones of the noble fir change the coloration. The green hue turns purplish-brown as they age. They produce seeds every year.

After the cones get their maturity, many conifer flowers fall to the ground. Thus, you will not see the mature scales with peculiar bracts lying on the tree anymore.


The needles are shaped like hockey sticks, and sweep away from the twig uniformly, giving them a combed appearance. The needles are blue-green with bands of white on each side.
Noble fir needles

Compared to other species, the noble firs feature unique needles that cover the twigs. They come in blue-green with white bands and resemble hockey sticks. The length reaches 2.5 to 3.8 centimeters.

The needles are presenting a uniform combed appearance of patterns. Their tips form a curve shape, whereas the low parts extend in ridges.

Red Fir Care Guide

The staminate cones are seen growing straight downward from the under side of the young branches in lavish profusion, making fine purple clusters amid the grayish-green foliage.
Red fir cones

Providing the right soil preference becomes the most essential factor of caring for the noble fir. The tree needs a moist, cool, deep, acidic, and well-drained planting area. However, it still appreciates poor rocky lands with proper humidity.

Caring for this fir in the landscape might have long-lasting life if it gets proper maintenance. The tall tree thrives well in full sunlight but still works best in partial shade. It requires direct sun four hours per day.

Generally, the noble fir does not require specific care and fertilizer. Just simply spread the seeds or new seedlings in the right area and provide enough water when the root system develops. Both sunny and shaded locations are the best sites as long as the places protect it from strong winds.

Furthermore, strong winds will batter down the tree. Therefore, sheltering a planting area is preferable to help the fir grows well.

Growing Abies procera

Abies procera is a western North American fir, native to the Cascade Range and Coast Range mountains of extreme northwest California and western Oregon and Washington in the United States.
Abies procera in pot

To cultivate the noble fir in the landscape will give the best result in cooler climatic conditions. It grows well on either fresh or moist mineral soils with meager nutrients. However, when the tree is growing in a dry land, it might undergo dryness fissure.

The fir resists frost better than other species, so the planting areas with higher elevations are preferable. Plant the tree at higher altitudes between 305 and 1524 meters.

However, you can grow the fir by placing the tree in containers. Keep the potted plant indoors for about ten days. Then, move to outdoors and choose a cool location since it cannot resist heat. If the leaves turn into yellow, you should change the pot in a larger planter.

The potted noble fir plant will be quiescent in the early spring or the late winter and autumn. These seasons are the best time for planting. Move the tree from the container to the ground.

Before growing the fir tree, dig the compact soils with compost and organic matter. This way makes the area fertile so the cultivation will succeed.

Blue Noble Fir Features

Abies procera 'Glauca' is a large sized conical conifer with short, bright blue-gray needles on both the top and underneath.
Abies procera cones

Abies procera ‘Glauca’ is a large variety of noble fir that comes with short needlelike leaves. The narrow growth habit enhances an eye-catching look to the garden. Its needles are vibrant blue-gray color. Then, the blue hue becomes more intense in spring.

Moreover, the blue fir can be used as bonsai. It shows plenty of attractive cones in the fall season. Their blue color will turn into reddish-brown as they reach maturity. These large conifer flowers grow about 25 cm long.

The cones are lying upright the branches instead of hanging over the tree. The young bark of the blue fir has a smooth layer with silver-gray color. On the other hand, the adults have red-brown hue with narrow cracks on the surface.

The blue foliage has a slow growth rate, about 60 cm each year. Its size reaches 15 meters tall and 12 meters wide to develop low-lying horizontal stems. Therefore, regular pruning is necessary to remove the vertical new growth of branches.

Noble Fir Information

Like all firs, the cones of Red and White Firs stand erect on the branches. They are blunt cylinders that grow erect only near or at the very tips of the trees.
Red fir cones picture

The red fir and larch are the common names of Abies procera. In 1825, David Douglas in the high mountains of Columbia River discovered this tree. A. nobilis became the name, but it was changed because another plant has owned the identity.

Noble fir matures at about 61 meters tall, whereas the trunk’s diameter reaches about 2 meters. This evergreen tree is native to Oregon, Southwestern Canada, the Coast Ranges of the Washington Pacific Northwest, and the Cascade Range.

The tree covers all areas at two high hills in Oregon and Washington State. Therefore, those areas are called Larch Mountain.

Additionally, the foliage can live at Saddle Mountain and Nesmith Point. You can also find this conifer tree in the Gifford Pinchot and the Willamette National Forest. Meanwhile, the southern Washington Cascade Mountains are where people can enjoy the view of the biggest noble fir.

Noble Fir Varieties

Noble fir is a native of the forests of Washington and Oregon where it grows to a great height. Just like the Douglas fir, this species was introduced by David Douglas.
Noble fir picture

Noble fir is also known as white fir and red fir. However, those names belong to other varieties of genus Abies. The shapes of their needlelike foliages discern the firs. Besides, the cones can distinguish them from other coniferous plants.

The larch becomes one of the dwarf varieties that make it perfect as a potted tree. Other types are the Fraser, balsam, white, and Spanish firs. They still can go on growing in larger pots or transplanting into the landscape.

Moreover, other types of firs that can grow in the landscape are grandis, spectabilis, koreana, nordmanniana, magnifica, alba, pinsapo, lasiocarpa, and Abies concolor. These varieties have distinct colors, shapes, and patterns of leaves and conal flowers.

Fir Tree Problems

Pathogen Phaeolus schweinitzii may infect the noble fir and causes root rot. Moreover, rusts fungi and needle cast are common foliage diseases that often occur in the native region. Sometimes, balsam wooly aphid infestation can make the tree experience dieback.


The three major diseases that currently limit the production and marketability of noble and Fraser fir Christmas trees are Phytophthora root rot and stem canker, current season needle necrosis (CSNN), and interior needle blight.
Abies procera tree diseases

The root rot occurs due to Phytophthora that makes the tree become stunted growth. Other symptoms are fade hue, deteriorative root, and dead branches at the bottom part. Thus, to solve this problem is by improving the quality of the drainage system.

Besides, needle blight is another disease that comes from infections of several fungi such as Rhizosphaera, Phyllosticta abietis, and Phaeocryptopus nudus. The signs are browning of mature needles on the bottom branches and presenting black fungal fruiting.

Some treatments to cure the disease are providing good air circulation, controlling the weed, and spraying fungicides. Those actions will protect the noble fir from the fungal infections.

Moreover, the fir will suffer a needle cast that is caused by Rhabdocline. Reddish-brown dots will be found on the needles. Then, the symptomatic parts have elongated fruiting bodies. They can break and exhibit spores. To prevent infection, remove the infected parts.


The hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae) is a small, aphid-like insect that has become a serious pest of eastern hemlock and Carolina hemlock.
Hemlock woolly adelgid

Instead of fungi, some insects can damage the noble fir. Twisted and curled needles appear when twig aphid infects the tree. Losing and stunting are the common signs of the infection. Besides, black mold is found on the trunk, stems, and other parts.

Therefore, you can apply insecticide to kill the insect and its eggs. Then, getting involved with some natural predators might be helpful. They are lady beetles, earwigs, lacewings, ants, predatory thrips, and parasitoids.

Another pest is balsam woolly adelgid that causes loss and yellow needles. Other symptoms are the flattop, rigid trunk, white wooly masses, and dead branches. To solve the problem is by cutting the infested areas and throw away from the field. However, do not trim at the crawler stage.

Fir Benefits

Noble Fir is known as one of the most desirable of the conifers due its stunning vivid bright blue needles which keep its colour year round.
Bonsai noble fir

The attractive appearance of noble fir makes it suitable for a Christmas tree. Its well-groomed needles create an elegant look, so the plant popularly functions as ornamental details. Meanwhile, the sturdy wood is used as lumber. Ladders and airplanes also utilize this larch.

Likewise, fresh needles function as natural medicine. They consist of essential oil with lemon and camphor. The EO works best for treating coughs. Alternatively, the leaves can be consumed as fir tea.

Some other substances are Turpentine in the resin, anti-inflammatory flavonoids in the needles, and astringent tannins in the bark. Therefore, the noble fir may cure headaches and relieve joint and muscle aches.

Finally, cultivating the noble fir in the landscape offers many benefits. It can function as a decorative plant, solid wood for lumber, and medicinal uses. Make sure that this variety becomes one of the focal points in your garden.

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