A couple of weeks ago, my friend Sandi (the friend who only plants purple and white flowers) invited me along on a field trip to a nursery we both like visiting because they have such a large inventory of unusual trees and shrubs. Sandi was in the market for some conifers. A few months before we'd been there on a reconnaissance mission and Sandi was going to pick up a few trees to plant along her property line.
I wasn't really in the market to purchase that day but they were having an end of the season 50% off sale on trees, and well you know how that goes when you are a gardener. It's like flashing a checkered flag in front of Jeff Gordon.
So to make a long story short, I went home that day with six 2 1/2 ft. Korean firs (abies Koreana). My excuse for purchasing them is a section of the hill in my backyard where's it's been pretty near impossible, without the use of chemical fertilizers, to maintain any kind of lawn so pretty much it's been left to sweet ferns and whatever weeds can hang on to the bony soil. Since the sign at the nursery said that Korean firs were draught tolerant, I thought I'd give them a try.
In comparison, they pretty much look like any other fir species, in fact I thought they were balsams when I first spotted them growing in that section of the nursery until I noted that they lack that telltale balsamy/piney fragrance.
According to the the guy at the nursery and what I could find online, they grow rather slowly about 2 to 4 inches per year, which I like too. They also have a dense habit, deep green needles with silver undersides and they bear attractive violet-blue cones when only a few years old. Their tolerance for warmer summers make them a good choice for where I live and because they tend to grow into an almost perfect conical shape without shearing, I'm trying them out as future Christmas Trees.