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A True Fir That Grows Well in the South

Making It Grow Minute

  Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. One ornamental conifer that grows well in all part of our state is Moma fir, Abies firma. A native to mountainous regions of Japan, it has good resistance to phythopthora rot root that destroys many conifer species. It needs space – grows to 40 or 60 feet and gets wide – forty feet across but is handsome and a different look if you want to feel like you have a little of the mountains in your own woodlot. Like other conifers, it needs full sun so grow it as a specimen tree away from shade producing neighboring trees. Florida Arborist Ed Gilham (yes, it grows in Florida) says it gets to be about 30 feet in twenty years and is the only true fir that grows well in the south. It has dark green, stiff needles with upright branches that eventually take on a more horizontal pattern. Moma fir naturally keeps an an iconic Christmas tree pyramidal shape.

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.