Home Native Plant Network
NPN Protocol Details Image

Abies (grandis)

Lee Riley
USDA FS - Dorena Genetic Resource Center
34963 Shoreview Road
Cottage Grove, Oregon 97424
541-767-5709 (fax)

Family Scientific Name: Pinaceae
Family Common Name: Pine
Scientific Name: Abies grandis
Common Name: Grand fir, lowland white fir, stinking fir
Species Code: ABGR
Ecotype: Mt Hood National Forest, Oregon
General Distribution: Grows best in rich, consistently moist, slightly acidic, well-drained soils. It can handle part shade but prefers full sun. Grows best in deep alluvial soils in moist cool locations. Native to the Pacific Northwest from southwest British Columbia into northern California (var. grandis). There is also a disjunct population in the Rocky Mountains from British Columbia into central Idaho and northwestern Montana (var. idahoensis). It is planted as an ornamental in Hawaii and Europe.
Propagation Goal: Plants
Propagation Method: Seed
ProductType: Container (plug)
Stock Type: 444 ml (27 in3) container
Time To Grow: 18 months
Target Specifications: Stock Type: Container seedling Root System: Firm plug in container.
Propagule Collection: Seed cones emerge green in spring and mature into yellow-ish brown (usually between August and October) and are sometimes tinged blue-gray or purple. A year of heavy cone production are usually followed by several years of light production.
Propagule Processing: The seed has a relatively long storage life in cold dry storage.
Pre-Planting Treatments: Seeds are placed in fine mesh bags into a 1% hydrogen peroxide (3:1 water/3% hydrogen peroxide) soak for 24 hours, rinsed, and placed in water for an additional 24 hours. The bags are placed in sealed containers in refrigeration at 1 to 3 °C for 45 days.
It is very important to check seeds weekly. If mold is evident, seeds should be treated with 1% hydrogen peroxide.
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:
Greenhouse growing facility.
Seeds are directly sown into containers. Seeds are lightly covered with nursery grit.
Growing medium used is 40:20:20:20 peat:composted fir bark:perlite:pumice with Apex controlled release fertilizer (16N:5P2O5:10K2O with minors; 6 to 7 month release rate at 21C) at the rate of 2 gram Apex per 444 ml container.
Establishment Phase: Germination is somewhat slow and uneven, and may take up to 3 to 4 weeks to be complete. Once the majority of germination has occurred, seedlings are fertilized for 3 weeks with soluble 12-2-14-6Ca-3Mg at 75 to 100 ppm.
Length of Establishment Phase: 4 weeks
Active Growth Phase: In this size container, A. grandis may take up to 2 years to fill a container and reach appropriate target height for outplanting. During the first growing season, fertilization depends on weather and physiological needs. Soluble 20-9-20 NPK, 20-18-18 NPK, or 17-5-24 NPK at a range of 100 to 150 ppm is applied weekly throughout the growing season.
In the spring on the second growing season, seedlings are hand-fertilized with Apex controlled release fertilizer (16N:5P2O5:10K2O; 6 to 7 month release rate at 21C) at the rate of 2 gram Apex per 444 ml container. Throughout the remainder of the growing season, seedlings are fertilized weekly with soluble 20-9-20 NPK or 20-18-18 NPK at a rate of 150 ppm.
Length of Active Growth Phase: 18 to 20 weeks
Hardening Phase: No dry-down is done to induce dormancy. Seedlings are moved to an outdoor growing area in early September.
Length of Hardening Phase: 2 to 3 weeks
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Harvest Date: Mid-October
Storage Conditions: Seedlings are usually outplanted in fall. No storage except in outdoor growing area. Plants are well irrigated prior to shipping and shipped in containers.
Seedlings can be extracted in early December and frozen until spring outplanting.
Length of Storage: 3 to 4 months
Other Comments: USDA hardiness zones 5 to 6
Wetland classification: FACU
Does not have any major insect or disease problems but can get cankers, heart rot, root rot, needle rust and twig blight. In some areas, the western balsam bark beetle, spruce budworm, Douglas-fir tussock moth, and the fir engraver beetles are a problem.
It is a valuable timber species because it is compatible with adhesives, has low shrinkage, and is good for pulping. It is also one of the fastest growing North American firs.
It is seldom browsed by livestock but is used as shade and can serve as winter browse for some larger ungulates and is a major food source for grouse, squirrels, other rodents and some birds. It also serves as a feeding and nesting site for various birds and rodents.
It is moderately resistant to surface fire when at maturity though it is easily killed when young. However, fire-scarred grand fir is susceptible to heart rot.
References: Bonner FT, Karrfalt RB, Nisley RG, editors. 2008. The woody plant seed manual. Washington (DC): USDA Forest Service. Agriculture Handbook 727. 1223 p.

Dorena Genetic Resource Center Propagation Records, unpublished.

Gymnosperm Database. Abies grandis (Douglas ex D. Don) Lindley. URL: https://www.conifers.org/pi/Abies_grandis.php (accessed 5 Aug 2019)

Howard JL, Aleksoff KC. 2000. Abies grandis. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. Missoula (MT): USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station Fire Sciences Laboratory. https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/tree/abigra/all.html (accessed 5 Aug 2019).

Missouri Botanical Garden. Abies grandis. URL: http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=284982&isprofile=0& (accessed 5 Aug 2019).

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Abies grandis (Douglas ex D. Don) Lindl. Grand fir. URL: https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=ABGR (accessed 5 Aug 2019).


Riley, Lee E.; Kamakura, Renata. 2020. Propagation protocol for production of Container (plug) Abies grandis Plants 444 ml (27 in3) container; USDA FS - Dorena Genetic Resource Center Cottage Grove, Oregon. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://NativePlantNetwork.org (accessed 2021/09/19). US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, National Center for Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetic Resources.

Personal tools