What's new

Concolor Firs

Spruce85

A good 3 year old buck
Does anybody plant concolor (white) firs for cover? I don’t see much talk about this tree being used outside Christmas trees and was curious why. The neighbor has some 30ft tall and they are full and beautiful trees. I’m considering mixing them into my Norway spruce plantings.
 

rocksnstumps

5 year old buck +
Might work fine but probably a number of factors.
Availability, the nursery I have bought thousands of spruce from lists several types of firs but not concolor
Pricing, the firs are generally a little higher priced than spruce. Maybe just a volume thing for that grower.
Growth rate, concolor is listed slow to med growth
Deer munchy factor, firs are likely to be browsed more than something like white spruce

So adding some into a small planting is maybe a consideration but anything large scale has a lot of little negatives that add up especially in the pocket book.
 

BuckSutherland

5 year old buck +
I ordered some superstock conifers from University of Idaho nursery. I wanted a little bit of diversity and maybe a couple candidates for future Christmas trees.


5 concolor fir
5 douglass fir
5 grand fir
5 frasier fir
5 western hemlock


They will all get tucked away in cages. Where I am in N MN is about the northern limit for most of those on that list. I read the hemlock, grand fir and doug fir can get well over 200 ft tall in their native areas. Concolors can get well over 100 feet from what I have read. I really like those longer needles on the concolor.
 

Spruce85

A good 3 year old buck
Might work fine but probably a number of factors.
Availability, the nursery I have bought thousands of spruce from lists several types of firs but not concolor
Pricing, the firs are generally a little higher priced than spruce. Maybe just a volume thing for that grower.
Growth rate, concolor is listed slow to med growth
Deer munchy factor, firs are likely to be browsed more than something like white spruce

So adding some into a small planting is maybe a consideration but anything large scale has a lot of little negatives that add up especially in the pocket book.
Would white spruce be a better option to mix in with the Norway spruce for cover? I was concerned about needle cast as most of my blue spruce have been wiped out.
 

Bowsnbucks

5 year old buck +
Spruce85 -
FWIW - We've used Norway and white spruce at our camp with good results. They make GREAT bedding / thermal cover when cold winter winds blow!! An area in a step mountain hollow on our property that is just a wind tunnel in winter is amazingly CALM now that the spruce are 15' to 22' tall. The bare tops of 80' to 90' tall hardwoods can be waving in the wind - but at ground level - it's CALM in those spruce trees. Deer like that!!

Blue spruce get a rust or blight that hammers them and usually kills them.
 

Spruce85

A good 3 year old buck
Spruce85 -
FWIW - We've used Norway and white spruce at our camp with good results. They make GREAT bedding / thermal cover when cold winter winds blow!! An area in a step mountain hollow on our property that is just a wind tunnel in winter is amazingly CALM now that the spruce are 15' to 22' tall. The bare tops of 80' to 90' tall hardwoods can be waving in the wind - but at ground level - it's CALM in those spruce trees. Deer like that!!

Blue spruce get a rust or blight that hammers them and usually kills them.
Great! I put in an order for 100 whites spruce today. I’ll mix them in with the Norway’s and see how they do. My property is high elevation and gets pretty windy. These should make for some good bedding areas.
 

Bowsnbucks

5 year old buck +
Spruce85 -
Once they get to about 7 ft. tall or more, you'll see a reduction in the wind that gets into the inner parts of your spruce clusters. They make a great wind break. Some of our oldest spruce - planted in 1997 - are now 20 to 25 ft. tall. You can light a candle in the middle of those spruce clusters and it won't blow out on a windy day. Deer bed in there readily.
 

BuckSutherland

5 year old buck +
^^^I have a spot on public that I hunt on windy days in a stand of red pines with a few spruce and balsam firs mixed in. It is right on the edge of a clear cut. It can be blowing 20+ and there is not much wind in those pines at all. I enjoy hunting in there and usually see deer about 60-70% of the time. That's a damn good percentage on public for our area in wolf country. Here is some of the sign I have found in there.

IMG_3593.JPGIMG_4433.JPGIMG_4434.JPGIMG_7321.JPG
 

Spruce85

A good 3 year old buck
Spruce85 -
Once they get to about 7 ft. tall or more, you'll see a reduction in the wind that gets into the inner parts of your spruce clusters. They make a great wind break. Some of our oldest spruce - planted in 1997 - are now 20 to 25 ft. tall. You can light a candle in the middle of those spruce clusters and it won't blow out on a windy day. Deer bed in there readily.
That’s great to hear. I planted 12 acres in spruces with some white pine, oaks, chestnut, apple, crabapple, pear and a variety of shrubs mixed in. It’s a few years away from becoming something. Im hoping it becomes the best bedding area around. Those are impressive rubs. Looks like there are some big mature bucks running that area of public.
 

Bowsnbucks

5 year old buck +
BuckSutherland -
Good sign!! Not spikes making those rubs. I'm not surprised you found good sign in the evergreens.

I also found an area on public land here that had a clear cut near it. The cut wasn't very new, and had a lot of big mature hardwoods surrounding it. Someone must have planted a line of spruce trees in the hardwoods about the time the clear cut had been logged. They HAD to have been planted because there aren't any spruce trees for miles. The thing I noticed was - bucks had taken a liking to that line of spruce trees for their travels. It wasn't a "laser-straight" line by any means - more a wandering kind of line. But there were rubs and scrapes all along that line of spruce that spanned several years. The spruce appeared to be about 10 to 12 years old at that time - they were 10 to 15 ft. tall.

I mentioned that discovery in an exchange of posts with Sandbur on here, who had similar findings near spruce and balsam around his place. I also found the same sign at another place I hunt on a very large hardwood tract that has some big white pines on it. After it had been logged, the edges of the skid road had been planted with Norway spruce. The amount of buck sign ON the spruce trees -rubs and broken limbs - plus the numbers of scrapes has been crazy. There are other skid roads and trails all through that big tract of land, but the spruce seem to be the different factor as far as buck sign.
 

BuckSutherland

5 year old buck +
^^^ You and Sandbur have the exact same findings as I do with conifers in a line. I have seen the same thing all over on public. The power of conifers in my area has been so impressive that I have been setting up my entire property based off buck sign by them. I am establishing by far and away the best bedding in our area. Then I have lines of conifers that lead in and out of the bedding. My conifers are all young though cause I only figured out 2 years ago how to properly grow a tree. My property is kinda looking like a bicycle wheel with bedding in the middle and then lines of conifers as spokes leading where I want them to travel. If they are bedding ON my property and going to the food across the road at night I feel like I have a better chance at daytime movement on my parcel.
 

BuckSutherland

5 year old buck +
This property is public land. The amount of sign I have seen in here is just unbelievable. It is thicker than hell from the ground. I have seen 100s of rubs and scrapes on this 20 acres the past few years. IMG_7309.JPGIMG_7311.JPGIMG_7313.JPGIMG_7314.JPGIMG_7316.JPG
 

Bowsnbucks

5 year old buck +
^^^^^^ THAT looks really "deer-y" !! Those clusters of evergreens are perfect. Looks like areas I've hunted in Maine.

It's funny you mentioned setting up your property with lines of conifers to dictate / encourage deer travel. I'm doing that same thing at camp!!! My plantings have been based on what I saw on the other 2 acreages I mentioned above. Another "convincer" for me was while hunting another mountain hardwood acreage some years ago. I was on a stand overlooking a saddle between 2 ridges. Just after first light, I looked down into the saddle and saw about 8 deer coming up from farmland way down below in the valley. The woods was about 95% open, mature hardwoods - but I noticed where the deer were walking as they slowly worked their way up to their bedding locations on the other ridge. (They had NO IDEA I was watching them from higher ground). They walked from one evergreen to another (white pines and hemlocks) - like connect the dots. I wondered why they did that, but then looked at the whole woods. The open hardwoods were much more "LIT" by the oncoming daylight - but the evergreens were the only source of darker shadows for security. I locked that tidbit of info away and applied it to our camp property, along with what I saw on the 2 acreages I mentioned above.

I'm convinced that in many cases, we can "steer" deer travel if we plant conifers as "walkways" of shadowy security. Sandbur's info cemented what I've seen on my own - now YOU are saying the same thing!!!
 

Bowsnbucks

5 year old buck +
I have to add this, Buck ................ As those deer went from evergreen to evergreen - they stopped and stood for a few minutes under or beside each evergreen. I'm sure they were using the shadows and darker surroundings for security before sticking their necks out into open woods to head for the next evergreen. The evergreens were like magnets - the next "safe spot" to stand while surveying / smelling for danger.
 

Spruce85

A good 3 year old buck
Just to add to this about deer sign in and around evergreens. I got this crazy idea about turning my open hayfield into conifers after visiting my friends tree farm. It’s around 100 acres of various conifers of different sizes about 2 miles away. After taking a walk on the farm, I came away completely shocked at what I saw. The biggest rubs, some on trees the size of telephone poles and the most deer sign I had ever seen. Several big mature bucks are harvested on that farm every year. It is the prime spot from rut all thru winter. I knew as soon as I left, I was going to create the same thing on a smaller scale.
 

Bowsnbucks

5 year old buck +
I've been planting Norway & white spruce, plus some balsam fir every year since 1997 at camp. Not thousands, but hundreds in total - usually 50 to100 or so each year. Planted in clusters for bedding & security, and in loose lines for "walkways" like Buck's got going. I think you'll like the results after planting your evergreens, Spruce85!!
 
Top