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3881 Views 5 Replies Last post: Jul 16, 2013 9:09 PM by MikeHardman RSS
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Jul 15, 2013 1:05 PM

Please help to identify this tree



I saw a tree in one of the garden of the house nearby mine, I want to know what it is! I don't want to bother the owner, I tried several websites but none of them give me 100% answer.


The tree is quite young, I'd think. I presume it's one of the firs, but I'd love to know which one exactly The pic is below:



It's got single needles (not in clusters), the needles are flat, can't be rolled beetween the fingers, quite soft and have got round tips. They're arranged on one side of the branch (not all around), and they've got two stripes on the underneath of the needle.


Thank you for your help!



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    Jul 15, 2013 1:37 PM (in response to PeterGSX)
    Re: Please help to identify this tree

    Looks like a silver fir, Abies.

    And I fancy it may be Veitch's silver fir, Abies veitchii

    (two silvery bands on the underside of the needles, amongst other factors).


    Seeing the cones would help, of course.



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        Jul 16, 2013 7:27 AM (in response to PeterGSX)
        Re: Please help to identify this tree



        The tree is grown in lots of places away from its native range. For instance, decades ago I collected seed from a specimen in Ness Botanic Gardens (I think), and grew two youngsters therefrom.

        It is normal for most (all?) conifers' new needles to be a paler/brighter green than older ones. You are right in that the presence of lots of such needles proves it has settled-in - proves that its roots are doing their job. If it was just a few such leaves, that would not be the case, since even unrooted cuttings can produce a few such leaves, as ripe leaf buds swell and open, those new leaves using up resources already in the twig before it was severed.


        I would recommend seed as a method of propagation, because of its success rate. It comes with a chance, however, of the seedling(s) being slightly different to each other and to the parents. That's because all seedlings involve a mixing-up of genes, which incurs a chance of variation. Some cultivars arose that way (they are subsequently propagated vegetatively to ensure the cultivars' particular traits are maintained.)

        There are various more-complex techniques, such as air layering, grafting and in-vitro microprop', which have their place, but I suspect not for you, at least not yet.

        ...Which leaves the other main method: cuttings. Woody plants vary greatly in their natural propensity to be propagated from cuttings: some are very easy (eg. Sambucus, Jacaranda, Fatshedera), others are almost impossible. With the more-difficult ones, some means are available to improve the chances of success: bottom-heat, hormone treatment, etc. Abies are not the easiest; some assistance may be required. ...And patience, as usual with propagation.

        There are planety of books and online resources to help you with propagation in general and propagation of conifers. Some of the latter will give specific guidance for some genera, such as Abies. But you'll have to do a fair bit of reading-up to gain a general appreciation for the science/art. You'll also have to be prepared for some failures along the way. ...Apart from getting the conditions right for (first) tissues to switch into root-producing mode (perhaps forming callous as an intermediate step), and (second) generation of successful roots, you'll have to guard against fungal/bacterial diseases, and you'll have to wean the young plant over the trauma of being transplanted from pot into its permanent position and then get it established (issues with staking, a matter subject to informed and less-informed opinion).


        If you can use seed and be patient, that solves a lot of problems. But note that Abies seedlings can resent root disturbance - eg. when planted-out from pot into the ground. For that reason, I would advise sowing some seed in pots and some in the ground where you eventually want the tree(s) to be. The ones in the pots allow you to watch their progress easily, and they give you a clue as to how the ones in the open ground should be behaving (it makes a lot of difference if you spot abnormal behaviour sooner rather than later - so you might be able to take remedial action). In the open ground, I suggest you sow 5 seeds about 6 inches apart, with the intention of keeping just the strongest. If you were to sow just one seed, you'd be too much at risk of: it failing to germinate, getting damping off (a fungal disease of seedlings especially), being eaten or otherwise damaged.

        (search that for 'Abies', ignoring reference to 'Picea abies')



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            Jul 16, 2013 9:09 PM (in response to PeterGSX)
            Re: Please help to identify this tree



            It will start coning when it is ready, which depends partly on age, partly upon growing conditions.

            Age-wise, it could start coning in its 6th year.

            That's mentioned, with lots of other relevant info, here



            Note especially therein:

            "Trees should be planted into their permanent positions when they are quite small, between 30 and 90cm in height. Larger trees will check badly and hardly put on any growth for several years. This also badly affects root development and wind resistance." (to support what I posted before)


            "Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus."

            The latter means that, if the tree is the only one of its species in the locality, it might produce seed, but there's a good chance that seedlings won't grow well, and might not look the same as the parent because of hybridizing.


            Many thanks to PFAF for a very useful resource.


            Overall, if you'd like to grow one, as well as considering the options to start with material from 'your' tree, I suggest you consider:

            - Why you would like to grow it. There may be other, related, species you fancy more. Googling Abies might help; or a visit to a pinetum (confier arboretum), having checked they include Abies veitchii in their living collection.)

            - Buying one from a reputable nursery, gaining confirmation of how it was propagated and hence how sure of it coming true to species.


            Of course, I understand the wish to have one for free; free apart from your own time and effort.



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