Planting Douglas fir - tips on location and soil requirements


Planting a Douglas fir in the garden is not the norm, but it can be done. If you want to plant the imposing tree, you will find the instructions and tips here.

© HeiSpa - The Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) is an impressive appearance and certainly not suitable for every small garden. Compared to the native spruce, the evergreen trees prove to be more stable and more growth-friendly. Terms such as douglas pine or douglas fir are also frequently in circulation. However, the Douglas fir is neither a fir nor a pine, but forms its own genus. Learn more interesting facts about the attractive crop and read how planting can lay the foundation for your very own forest generation.

Douglas fir - plant description

If the right location is found, Douglas firs prove to be extremely growth-friendly. In our latitudes, heights of 60 meters are not uncommon. The trunk can reach up to four meters in diameter.

" Tip: The highest Douglas fir currently in existence can be found on the California coast and measures approximately 115 meters.

With the planting of a Douglas fir, the hobby gardener not only delights himself, but also future generations. The trees can reach an age of up to 400 years. Douglas firs have blue-green needles that feel soft and stand alone. If you rub the four centimeter long needles with your fingers, you will notice a slightly citrusy smell. The needles sit directly on the branches and do not have the thickening characteristic of spruces. The trees are single sexes. The first flowers appear at the age of 20 to 40 years. The cones can be up to ten centimeters long. Similar to native spruce, the ripe cones fall from the trees. The heyday in Europe falls in April and May. The cones ripen in September and from October you can find them on the ground.

Douglas fir - spread

Douglas fir originally comes from North America. There the trees grow on the mountain slopes of the Rocky Mountains, along the Sierra Nevada in California and into Mexico. The tree got its name from David Douglas. This introduced the Douglas fir to Europe in the 19th century. The Scottish botanist brought the trees from an expedition to North America to London. Since then, Douglas fir has become an indispensable part of parks and gardens in Europe and is also of importance for forestry. Karl Phillipp also deserved the Douglas fir. The head of the forest administration in Baden took care of extensive plantings in the Freiburg area.

Douglas fir - use

The Douglas fir wood can be used in many ways. The wood of the Douglas fir looks like larch wood. Douglas fir is used as veneer in furniture production or in the production of doors, windows or ship masts. Because Douglas fir wood is easier to impregnate in the core than domestic spruce wood, it is also preferred for roof truss construction.

Plant Douglas fir - find a suitable location

The choice of location is a priority for Douglas fir. The nutrient requirement is rather low, but the location conditions are crucial for the growth and prosperity of the plant. Planting on a hillside is particularly suitable for Douglas fir. Excess liquid can drain away better. Trees planted on a slope are less affected by fungal infections. Young plants tolerate a sunny location less well. Frost dryness in particular can be a problem. In addition, the water requirement increases in a sunny location.

Suitable location can be found in keywords

  • no blazing sun
  • not too wet
  • hillside
  • unique

Plant Douglas fir - select substrate

The nutritional requirements of Douglas fir are rather low. The plants thrive on chalk, sandstone or crystalline. The floor should be fresh and loose, but not too wet. Waterlogging is not tolerated. It is also an advantage if the soil is deep, loamy and not too rocky. Lime-rich substrates are not suitable.

The ideal substrate in brief

  • profound
  • fresh
  • loamy
  • humos

Planting Douglas fir - when?

Douglas fir is preferably planted from late winter. In mild winters, the plant can go into the soil from mid-March. From the beginning to the middle of April, the side buds thicken, which gives an indication of the onset of strong root growth.

If the weather is damp and cool, the best planting weather for the Douglas fir. The risk of dehydration is particularly great in the first weeks after planting.

Autumn planting is possible, but more risky. Bare root plants are particularly at risk because they do not root in time for the onset of winter. A protected location and an adequate water supply are necessary in any case.

" Tip: Planting from the end of October should be avoided.

Bare root Douglas firs and small bale plants

The bare root Douglas fir is a real mimosa. The plants do not tolerate drought. Before planting, the roots must be protected from drying out. The young plants in the field are to be watered regularly. Bale goods are more robust, a small bale plant can also be planted in September. Then the winter moisture protects against dehydration and the plants are less threatened by dehydration in spring.

" Tip: When buying, make sure that the bale is firm, moist and well rooted.

Recognize the age of the Douglas fir when buying it

The label contains information such as “Douglas 2/1”. This tells the hobby gardener that it is a two-year-old plant that has been grown as a seedling and has been trained for one year. In technical terms, schooling means that the Douglas fir has been moved to another bed in order to stimulate the branching of the roots. In this case, you are buying a three-year plant.

Planting Douglas fir - step by step

  1. Find location
  2. Prepare the soil
  3. Dig out the planting hole
  4. Wrap the plant
  1. Insert the plant
  2. Fill in the substrate
  3. Firmly tread the floor
  4. Water the plant
To protect the Douglas fir from drying out, it should be planted as soon as possible after purchase. Bare-rooted plants should ideally be planted on the same day.

" Tip: The fine hair roots of the Douglas fir must not dry out.

If you cannot plant immediately, you should protect your Douglas fir by felling it. To do this, choose a shady drop-off site, on the edge of a body of water or on a damp meadow. If necessary, it also does a puddle. First you dig a small trench. Then place the plant at an angle and cover the area of ​​the roots with the moist earth. The root area should be completely surrounded by the porridge.

Plant Douglas fir with Göttingen bicycle handlebars

The term is often used in specialist circles in connection with the planting of Douglas fir Göttingen bicycle handlebar on. It is a special planting tool that has proven itself for deciduous and coniferous trees. Specially trained plants are brought into the earth with this small plant shovel developed in cooperation with the FH Göttingen. With this method, the roots are protected, which ensures good growth.

Visually, the Göttingen bicycle handlebar appears as a narrow plant spade with a bicycle handlebar mounted on the upper end. The extension can be adjusted in height. There is a step aid on the narrow edge of the spade for better handling.

How to use the Göttingen bicycle handlebar in practice

  1. Find location
  2. Stab the bicycle handlebar
  3. Stretch your arms, push your back through
  4. put one leg forward
  5. Pull the bicycle handlebar backwards
  6. Insert the plant
  7. Close plant gap

Root deformations often occur when Douglas fir is planted. This should be avoided with the Göttingen bicycle handlebar. A deep plant gap is created, which can completely absorb the main roots. When closing the planting gap, make sure that there is no cavity. This would cause the roots to die off. To do this, use the bicycle handlebar to prick the soil again in front of the planting gap. This is what the specialist calls a "lock stitch". By pulling the handlebar, the soil is pressed against the plant in the lower area. After this lever movement, the planting gap is pressed upwards.