Turkish fir

midwestjeffJanuary 18, 2007

Anyone else experimenting with it. Several years ago I went to a local Christmas tree farm. The grower grows mainly Scotch and White pine but attempts to grow a few fir. He had a few Turkish fir, but would not sell any with roots attached.

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dcsteg(5 Shawnee, KS.)

Pinus sylvestris. You can google it three different ways. Scots Pine which I believe right, or Scott's Pine and last but not least Scotch Pine which seems incorect to be. Most people give it the name Scotch Pine.

Decipher please.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2007 at 11:36AM
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Every source I have simply refers to Pinus sylvestris as Scotch Pine. I`m presently looking at Dirr`s Manual of Woody Landscape Plants. There is no mention of Scott`s or Scotts simply scotch pine(pinus sylvestris). Can you straighten out the confusion? The same is true for Donald Wyman`s books(he refers to Pinus sylvestris as Scotch Pine). I thought these 2 men were horticultural icons.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2007 at 12:21PM
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Scots Pine is correct; the spelling 'scotch' is considered offensive in Scotland in this contect (usage is limited to scotch whisky), so should be avoided.


Here is a link that might be useful: Species profile: Scots Pine

    Bookmark   January 18, 2007 at 1:03PM
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On the Turkish Fir question, it is a variety of Nordmann Fir (Abies nordmanniana var. equi-trojani, syn. A. nordmanniana var. bornmuelleriana), and has the same climatic tolerance and requirements.


    Bookmark   January 18, 2007 at 1:16PM
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I have one growing at my MD timberland on the Allegheny Plateau, elevation 2,700 feet, Z5 with the added problem of late spring frosts more than in most of Z5, I believe. It seems fully hardy here, but when it was young and low to the ground, it had damage from late frosts at least half of the years. It is now about 12' tall and does not get damaged by late frosts anymore. I planted a Nordmann at the same time and it was not caught by the late spring frosts and it is now about 25' tall, mostly, I think, because of that advantage over the Turkish fir. But the Nordmann may be a little faster anyway. They look a lot alike and sitting here at my Winchester VA place I am not sure how I would describe any differences in their general appearance. They are both very nice and have darker green foliage than some firs.


    Bookmark   January 18, 2007 at 4:40PM
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It's been said that when scionwood is scarce, growers will graft Turkish Fir to other Firs because of it's beauty.


    Bookmark   January 19, 2007 at 8:20AM
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picea(6A Cinci- Oh)

There is a collector just north of cincinnati who thinks its the best fir for our area. I have a small seedling that is doing well. The only source I know of is Treehaven Evergreen nursery. He sometimes has rare fir seedlings. David

    Bookmark   January 20, 2007 at 10:08AM
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Treehaven, without a doubt, has the greatest selection of exotic fir seedlings! Drakes Crossing Nursery has Turkish Fir listed in their web site and at unbeatable prices. Here's a 8 footer that I started from a Plug(P-0) obtained fron Treehaven. I personally think the Nordman has more attractive foilage.


    Bookmark   January 20, 2007 at 5:43PM
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Mine is much fuller and a deep green color. With my two the biggest problem is keeping a terminal leader. Hope that improves with time. It seems to tolerate the heat, humidity and seasonal drought we have here.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2007 at 6:53PM
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I've been looking for a regional source of A. bornmuelleriana for about a year now, but to no avail. It looks like I'm going to have to go mail order, but if anyone can recommend an upper midwest nursery carrying the Turkish Fir I'd be very grateful. My understanding is that this Fir is more tolerant of dry soils than most Firs, with the possible exception of White Fir, which I've already got. Of course I'm not going to dispute Resin, but I thought the Turkish Fir was a natural hybrid of A. cephalonica and A. nordmanniana.

I'm experimenting with a few different Fir species and cultivars, but I'm afraid my conditions are not well suited to this genus, most of which seem to like moist, rich soils. I'd be very interested to know if anyone has had success with Firs in dryer, sandy soils in the upper midwest.

I planted A. koreana this past summer and if it shows promise I'd like to plant several more. One grower in northern Minnesota (z3) reports that it has done very well, including the winter of 2002-'03, which they considered the acid test for their exotics. It did better than Veitch Fir and about as good as Siberian Fir.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2007 at 8:15PM
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Forestfarm lists it as being perhaps a natural cross between cephalonica and nordmanniana and rating it as a zone 6 so I`m surprised you can grow it in Zone 4.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 2:55AM
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I purchased seed of A. bornmuelleriana (A. nordmanniana var. bornmuelleriana, per Resin) from Schumacher Tree and Shrub seeds (www.treeshrubseeds.com) last spring and I have a few seedlings that are outside and doing fine. However, it has been a VERY mild winter, so far. I always purchase the trial-size packet of seed for $3.00/pkt., since there is more than enough seed in these packets for the home gardener.

Unfortunately, the Schumacher site does not list the origin of this particular seed.

I have had very good service from Schumacher and good germination from the seeds, too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Schumacher's

    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 8:44AM
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Hi Mike,

Thanks for the Schumacher link--I've heard others mention them as well. I've got to admit that I have limited experience growing trees from seed (mainly Aesculus and Quercus), but definitely something I want to do more of.

Have you ever purchased from the company linked? They're located up near Grand Rapids, and have a nice selection of exotic conifers. They sell mainly in "plugs," and I was wondering if you (or anyone for that matter) could give me advice on planting these. Can they be planted out to their permanent site, or is there an intermediate step that should be taken?


Here is a link that might be useful: Itasca Greenhouse

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 8:46AM
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Abies bornmulleriana and Abies equi-trojani are 2 different plant,sometimes treated in var. :
Abies nordmanniana var bornmulleriana (dark foliage)
Abies nordmanniana var equi-trojani ...(no so dark)
probably hybrid between Abies nordmanniana and cephalonica.
It's probably 2 different hybrid from same parents.
1) is nordmanniana x cephalonica
and second) cephalonica x nordmanniana.

Clément Belgium

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 12:06PM
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Hi Clément,

The differences between equi-trojani and bornmuelleriana are not really enough to base a taxonomic separation on - particularly, foliage darkness is likely to be very variable in the wild.

To call them hybrids does not reflect their likely origin; the genus Abies has been present across the region for a long time, and (to quote Keith Rushforth, Abies expert) "It is helpful to understand them as having arisen by past segregation from a single species or gene pool", not as recent hybrids.

Ascribing male and female parentage to either is in particular nonsensical beyond a first generation hybrid; and this is clearly not the case, as they have been reproducing freely within the native range for hundreds, if not thousands, of generations.


    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 5:04PM
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There are two groups of Mediterranean firs:

1) Abies alba, A.pinsapo, A.nordmanniana and A.bornmuelleriana;

2) Abies cephalonica, A.borisiiregis(?), A.equitrojani and A.numidica.

(Abies cilicica is distinct from those groups.)

There is less genetic difference between A.nordmanniana and A.bornmuelleriana than between A.alba populations of the Alps and of the South of Italy.

A.equitrojani is almost identical as A.borisiiregis from Evia.

In each group, A.pinsapo and A.numidica are rather distinct.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 6:46PM
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Hi Bob,
I have never ordered anything mail order from Itasca, but I purchased my Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia) from them, at the MN state fair, several years ago. My Dawn Redwood was a plug no more than 6" tall when purchased. I paid $5.00 for the plug.

I would grow the plugs in pots for at least another year or two before planting the seedlings out in their permanent spots. If I am remembering correctly, I grew my Dawn Redwood in a pot for 3 years before planting the tree in the ground.

The Itasca site does not list Metasequoia right now, but I know that they do produce the tree. The guy at the Itasca booth at the fair said that the Metasequoia seed was collected from some trees growing in a cold part of New England. All of the plugs at the fair were very nice little trees. If you need quite a few plants, Itasca is a good place to get your plugs.
My .02

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 12:12PM
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kbguess(z5 IA)

I purchased a number of 4A size firs from Itasca this fall. Customer service was great and shipping was quite reasonable (The photo with the root plug is a Turkish fir.
The root plug size is identical for the other 4A sized seedlings. Korean fir seedlings were 9-10 inches tall from soil line.


    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 2:01PM
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