How to Take Care of Douglas Fir Seedlings

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The Douglas fir is a large, majestic species of evergreen tree that is native to North America. In landscaping, Douglas firs and other evergreen trees are beneficial additions because they provide shade and shelter for wildlife, and act as windbreaks for your home and yard. Baby Douglas fir trees are called saplings or seedlings, and require specialized care and planting methods.

Related Searches:Difficulty:Moderately EasyInstructions 1

Choose a bright location for the Douglas fir seedling, which the seedlings require to thrive. Seedlings should be planted in full sunlight, and will not do well in full shade or even partly sunny locations. Exposure to heavy wind can also cause injury to the seedlings, which are delicate at this growth stage. They should be planted in locations around a home that receive little wind and exposure.


Prepare the Douglas fir for planting. If a seedling is in a pot, the pot should be gently removed from the seedling. If the root ball is wrapped in burlap, the burlap should be left intact but any rope or twine around the burlap should be removed before planting. When digging a hole for the seedling, the hole should be as deep as the root ball is high, and at least 1 foot larger in circumference than the root ball. The Douglas fir should be placed in the hole and leveled, after which the hole can be filled in loosely to ensure adequate drainage.


Water the seedlings regularly after they are planted. A deep, thorough watering once per week for the first year is sufficient, but during dry spells they may need more frequent watering. Before the soil freezes for the winter months, increase your regular watering to help establish the roots and aid the Douglas fir seedling’s survival through its first winter season.


Fertilize younger seedlings once per year, either in the late fall or early spring. You can use manure or a high-nitrogen fertilizer. When determining how much fertilizer to use, the University of Wisconsin Extension recommends 1/3 of a pound of fertilizer for every foot of the tree's height.

ReferencesUniversity of Wisconsin: Evergreens Planting and Care; E.R. HasselkusNursery Men: Evergreen Tree Planting InstructionsResourcesOregon State University: The Care and Planting of Tree Seedlings; M. Elefrtiz et al.; 2006.Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ ImagesRead Next:

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