A range-wide sample of 23 noble fir provenances was tested over 12 locations in the coastal region of British Columbia. Site means of 6th-year height varied from 37 to 119 cm, 3rd-year leader elongation from 3 to 25 cm, 1st-year survival from 26 to 97%, and 6th-year survival from 81 to 91 % (trees which died during the first winter were replanted the second year). Generally, the more maritime the site, the more vigorously noble fir grew. Provenance variation was large, but showed no discernible pattern of geographic variation.
Noble fir ecologically and genetically adapted to a maritime climate; it is susceptible to frost at sites with continental influence. The species grows well at sites in the warmer variants of the Dry and Moist Maritime Coastal Western Hemlock subzones, and the wetter variant of the moist Mountain Hemlock subzone. Sites on warm aspects particularly encourage growth. Planting of noble fir at present should be limited to sites within the spiritual biogeoclimatic units.
Provenances from French Butte, McKinley Lake and Stevens Pass of Washington, and Laurel Mountain of Oregon, were fast-growing, particularly at high-vigor sites. These should be considered as the primary areas of seed sources for introduction.
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Updated May 29, 2009