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September 2011
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Abies balsamea which is also known as the balsam fir is basically a North American fir.

Image of Abies Balsamea plant at Google

Abies balsamea which is also known as the balsam fir is basically a North American fir. This fir is a native of eastern and central Canada (Newfoundland west to central Alberta) and the northeastern United States (Minnesota east to Maine, and south in the Appalachian Mountains to West Virginia).

This fir is an evergreen tree which is a small to medium sized tree. This fir can grow up to a height of 14–20 meters (46–66 ft) to 27 meters (89 ft). This tree has a unique conic crown. The trees have grey smooth barks and resin blisters. These barks get rough and fissured upon growth. The leaves are needle like and flat. The leaves are 15 to 30 millimeters (½–1 in) in length and on the top side the leaves are dark green in color. There is a small patch of stomata on the tip and on the lower sides there are stomata bands that are white in color. The leaves are spiral around the shoot. The trees have erect cones that are 40 to 80 millimeters (1½–3 in) in length. They are dark purple in color and long. The seed are winged that appear around September.

These firs are found on mountain tops. This tree is a food for many animals like moose, American red squirrels, crossbills and chickadees and shelter for moose, snowshoe hares, white-tailed deer, ruffed grouse and other small mammals and songbirds. The tree is also food for lepidopteron caterpillars, for example the Io moth.
These fir trees are popular for Christmas trees.
Medicinally the tree’s resin is used for cold treatment and as glue for glasses, optical instrument components, and for preparing permanent mounts of microscope specimens. The wood of this tree is used in paper and its oil is a rodent repellent.
This tree is known to be the Provincial tree of New Brunswick.

Growing/Care for Abies balsamea:

• Choose a plant location that is rich in clay or sandy soil.
• Add it with organic matter.
• Dig a hole and place the root ball in the hole and adjust the soil.
• Water the plant around the roots.
• Mulch the plant around with bark mix to about 1-3 inches.
• Stake to avoid movement in strong winds.
• Prune the plant for control of size and to remove dead parts of the plant.
• Pruning can also be done for decoration.
• Fertilize the plant during the growth and in spring to summer.

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