Douglas Fir, a type of evergreen tree, is native to the western half of North America. There are two main species of Douglas Fir that occur naturally in North America. The first is the Coastal Douglas Fir, whose growing region spans the length of the Western coast from central British Columbia in Canada down into northern California in the US. The second variety of the tree is the Rocky Mountain Douglas Fir, and its growing region reaches further inland and includes such states as Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and Idaho, among others. Other varieties of the tree have been introduced into more temperate regions of the country and have become popular as decorative Christmas trees.
The Douglas Fir is not technicaly a Fir at all, despite its name, and, historically, the tree was subject to a number of classifications before ultimately being given its own genus name, Pseudotsuga Menziesii. Douglas Firs enjoy several other nicknames, including, among others, Alpine Hemlock, Douglas Pine, Douglas Spruce, Gray Douglas, Green Douglas, Black Fir, Hallarin, Montana Fir, and Oregon Pine.
Generally, Douglas Firs tend to thrive in soils with a PH of about 5-6 and in areas that receive a large amount of direct sunlight. In these conditions, the tree usually grows to a height of 40-60 feet, but in the Pacific Northwest, the Douglas Fir’s original habitat, trees with heights of over 200 feet are not uncommon. The tree is conical in shape, and its base can reach widths of 15-25 feet. (To see a detailed chart of Douglas Fir specifications, such as Janka hardness rating, impact strength, and stiffness, visit the following webpage.)
Even in the best conditions, Douglas Firs must withstand some extreme climates. Because of this, the lumber from the trees tends to be extremely durable, and Douglas Fir lumber is therefore frequently used in timber framing applications.
Another characteristic that makes Douglas Fir so attractive to the timber framing industry is its unique appearance. The lumber has a distinctly orange hue, due to the combination of the earlywood’s yellow color and the more mature wood’s reddish cast.
Additionally, the grain of Douglas Fir lumber tends to be relatively straight, which the timber framing industry finds very desirable. The knots prevalent in Douglas Fir lumber are not suited to every industry’s appearance standards, but they lend themselves perfectly to the rustic appearance of log cabins and timber framing applications. In addition to its popularity in the timber framing industry, Douglas Fir is also frequently employed in paneling, exterior siding, and flooring applications.
J. Gibson McIlvain, a wholesale lumber supplier, provides a wide variety of douglas fir timber sizes and ships wholesale orders nationwide.