Fir trees are the third most common conifers in our forests, behind spruce and pine. There are over 40 different species of fir trees. Together they form a genus. The silver fir is the most common in our country. All fir trees grow in the northern hemisphere, and only where it is neither too hot nor too cold.
Fir trees grow to a height of 20 to 90 meters, and the diameter of the trunk reaches one to three meters. Their bark is grey. In young trees it is smooth, in old trees, it usually breaks up into small plates. The needles are eight to eleven years old, then they fall off.
How do fir trees reproduce?
There are buds and cones only on the top, the youngest branches. A bud is either male or female. The wind carries the pollen from one bud to the next. Then the buds develop into cones that always stand straight up.
The seeds have a wing so the wind can carry them far away. This allows the fir to multiply better. The scales of the cones fall off individually, while the stalk always remains in the middle. So there are no whole cones falling from the tree, so you can never collect pine cones.
Who uses the fir trees?
The seeds contain a lot of fat. Birds, squirrels, mice, and many other forest animals like to eat them. If a seed is spared and it falls on favorable soil, a new fir tree will sprout from it. Deer, deer, and other animals often feed on this or on the young shoots.
Many butterflies feed on the nectar of fir trees. Numerous species of beetles bore their tunnels under the bark. They feed on the wood and lay their eggs in the tunnels. Sometimes the beetles get the upper hand, for example, the bark beetle. Then the fire dies. The risk of this is lowest in mixed forests.
Man uses the first intensively. The forest workers usually cut off the branches of the young fir trees so that the trunk wood grows knot-free on the inside. So it can be sold more expensive.
Fir wood is difficult to distinguish from spruce wood. It not only looks very similar but also has very similar properties. Often, therefore, no distinction is made between the two when selling. In the hardware store, it is simply written as “fir/spruce”.
The trunks are processed into beams, boards, and strips, but furniture and doors are also often made of fir wood. Many fir trunks are needed to make paper. The branches can also be used: They are even better suited for firewood than the trunks.
The fir is our most common Christmas tree. They come in different types and colors. Blue fir trees, for example, have bluish needles that they quickly lose in a warm apartment. Nordmann firs last much longer. They also have nicer, bushier branches. Their needles hardly prick either, but Nordmann first is correspondingly more expensive.