A native to North West America Douglas fir has been widely planted in the UK since its introduction to the UK in the early 1800’s.
Best suited to low or medium fertility sites with a preference for low exposure and areas where damage from spring frost can be avoided it currently accounts for just 4% of the commercial conifer area in the UK with over half of this being grown in England.
Timber from Douglas fir is generally of good quality with most being grown for saw logs.
Plus trees have been identified across the UK and these are currently archived by Forest Research.
There are 2 UK orchards currently registered; both owned by Co-op members.
Historically seed has been sourced from native stands in British Columbia and Washington State. More recently seed has also been sourced from UK select stands and European seed orchards.
Research to date has focused on provenance choice and this has resulted in the publication of FC Bulletin 129 -Choice of Douglas fir seed origins for use in Great Britain by Fletcher and Samuel.
Future Co-op work is likely to focus on compare sources from UK seed stands with European seed orchards and assessing the Plus tree archive through progeny trails to maximise the potential of any UK orchards.