Soil pH

Christmas tree growers have become increasingly aware of the importance of site and soil characteristics as related to efficient tree production. Soil pH can be a principal factor when selecting species to grow because conifer species grown for Christmas trees differ in their soil pH preferences.

Optimal pH values by species are listed in Figure 1.These ranges represent optimal values, however, several species are tolerant to soil pH values outside those ranges. For example, Colorado blue spruce will tolerate sites where the pH exceed 7.0. However, other species such as Fraser fir are extremely sensitive to pH levels and will not grow satisfactorily on sites where the pH levels exceed 6.2.

Species pH Range
Fraser Fir 5.5 - 6.0
Concolor fir 6.0 - 6.5
Balsam Fir/Canaan 6.0 - 6.5
Korean fir 5.5 - 6.0
Corkbark fir 6.0 - 6.5
Nordmann fir 5.5 - 6.0
Other fir 5.5 - 6.0
Colorado Blue Spruce 6.0 - 6.5
Black Hills/white 6.0 - 6.5
Scotch Pine 5.5 - 6.0
White Pine 5.5 - 6.0
Douglas fir 6.0 - 6.5

Figure 1
. Recommended soil pH values for conifers used in Christmas tree production.

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