Noble fir (NF)
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Native to the mountain ranges of the Pacific coast of North America.
Provenances from the Washington or north Oregon Cascade mountains or from good quality British stands should be used.
Prefers a cool and moist (i.e. >1000 mm rainfall) climate; can cope with exposure and is more frost resistant than other firs, therefore most suited to upland Britain including higher elevations. A species of intermediate shade tolerance which is reported to have stronger timber than most other silver firs. Grows best on fresh to moist mineral soils of poor nutrient status, but suffers severely from heather competition. It is a high volume producer under the right conditions, but suffers from drought crack on drier soils.
Noble fir is largely free of major pathogens although reported to be susceptible to the root and butt rot pathogen Phaeolus schweinitzii. It is subject to numerous foliage diseases (needle cast and rusts fungi) in its native range, but none are considered significant except on Christmas trees.
Occasional reports of infestation by balsam wooly aphid, and some trees may become severely infested and suffer dieback.
A species valued for its foliage and as a Christmas tree. There is growing recognition that it has a place in upland forest diversification and is consequently being more widely planted.
Noble fir is categorised as a Secondary tree species. These are species planted on a much smaller scale than the principal species but are reasonably well understood and have demonstrated their suitability for forestry in terms of stem form, growth rate and hardiness under current conditions and so have potential for wider use in future.
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