Full-sized Conifers: For Christmas and Beyond!
This week, we're going to talk about the big guys: iconic conifers that will reach over 60' tall at maturity. Most of these conifers are also fast-growing. There's something pretty magical about seeing a big healthy conifer in your yard and thinking back to the year you planted it as a small living Christmas tree. If you've got the room, we highly recommend these beauties - and they're all native to the west coast; four out of the five listed here can be found growing wild in Oregon!
Ponderosa Pine: Ponderosas are the classic pine here in southwest Oregon. They're stately-looking trees with dark green needles and dark, flaky bark. The biggest Ponderosa Pine in the state (268' tall) can be found growing in the Big Pine Campground, northwest of Grants Pass. Ponderosa Pines growing in your yard won't get that tall, but you can expect them to easily reach 60' to 100'.
Incense Cedar: Incense Cedars get their name from their wonderfully aromatic bark. They're lovely trees with rich green needles and reddish bark, and will happily grow in drier sites than most of the other trees mentioned here. They will probably reach a height of 60' - 70' when grown in your yard, but can get much larger in the wild. One of the largest Incense Cedars in the world - the Tanner Lakes Titan - is from right here in Jackson County, and is over 137', with an amazing dbh (diameter at breast height) of 12.8'!
Douglas-fir: Douglas-fir is the Oregon State Tree and is named for pioneering botanist David Douglas. Almost everyone is familiar with them as cut Christmas trees, so rather than include a photo of the tree itself, this photo shows the distinctive cones. They'll reach 80' to 100+' in the home landscape. Visitors to the Oregon Caves Big Tree trail have had a chance to see a 600-800 year-old Douglas-fir with the widest girth in the state.
Giant Sequoia: This is the only plant on the list that isn't native to Oregon, but they do grow well here. The biggest Giant Sequoia on the planet is the General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Forest, which is around 275' tall, with a 100' crown. In the home garden, expect a mature height of about 100'. Young trees are fast growing, and have a densely pyramidal shape with soft-looking bluish green needles.
Coast Redwood: Anyone who has ever driven along Highway 199 to the coast is familiar with these majestic trees. Coast Redwoods require a bit more water than the other trees listed here (think of the climate they grow in!), and will do especially well if planted along a creek or near a pond. Your tree will likely reach 100' or so tall at maturity. The biggest Coast Redwood in the world is 'Hyperion' - which grows in Redwood National and State Parks in Del Norte County. It measures a stunning 397' tall, making it the tallest tree in the world!
Shooting Star Nursery regularly carries all these trees, albeit in much smaller sizes than listed above! If you like the idea of planting a tree as a living legacy, this might just be the year to plant one of these beautiful conifers.