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Spruce and Firs Native to Ohio?

Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 5:03 pm
by jasonbaker
I've been doing some research on this online and haven't found any definitive nformation. Are there any spruce or fir trees native to Ohio? I've checked range maps online and in my field guide and I don't see either of those genus of trees creeping into Ohio as part of their natural range. Don't get me wrong, we have tons of blue spruce, Norway spruce, and Korean firs planted and thriving. I always thought it was odd that we don't seem to have either of those tree seeing as we have most of the major northern hemisphere conifer families represented here (Pine, Cupressus, Hemlock...)

I was going to post this in the Ohio sections, but I figured posting it here would get more eyeballs on it.

Thanks for reading!

Re: Spruce and Firs Native to Ohio?

Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 5:32 pm
by Steve Galehouse
Jason-

Neither spruce or fir is currently native to Ohio, though both are likely found in fossil pollen records. The conifer genera native to Ohio today are: Pinus(4 species), Larix, Thuja, Juniperus(2 species), Tsuga( 1, possibly 2 species) and Taxus. I've heard of a naturalized stand of balsam fir in Ashtabula county, but have not seen it.

Steve

Re: Spruce and Firs Native to Ohio?

Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 5:47 pm
by jasonbaker
Interesing. So my suspicions were correct. It seems like we have a good climate for them. I see spruces all over the place here. I think I see more Norway spruce planted than our native conifer species.

Re: Spruce and Firs Native to Ohio?

Posted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 9:14 am
by bbeduhn
Jason,
Where exactly do you live? I grew up in Cleveland Heights. We had a tall Norway spruce in front and one in back of our house. We had three either Scots or Austrian pines, two Colorado spruce, a redcedar, a hemlock and perhaps a Suwara cypress. The Norways were tall (maybe 90'+) by 1990, and the Colorados were likely 60'+. I remember tons of Norway spruce in the neighborhood. I was surprised to find out they weren't native. Spruce are certainly at home in Northeast Ohio. Welcome to the board.
Brian

Re: Spruce and Firs Native to Ohio?

Posted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 9:38 am
by jasonbaker
Hi Brian,

It's good to meet another Ohioan that knows what I'm talking about!

I live in North Olmsted now, but I grew up in Lyndhurst. Like you, I was also unaware that many of the conifers growing in around Cleveland are not native. It's only been in the past year that I realized how many of the conifers around here are transplants. Even the Metroparks are full of non-native species. There are large stands of Norway spruce, scots pine, and red pine down in the Rocky River Reservation not to mention the dawn redwoods and bald cypress that are scattered down there.

The Norway spruces do seem to grow particularly well here. I've even found some saplings in a park that appear to be naturally reproducing.

Re: Spruce and Firs Native to Ohio?

Posted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 8:23 pm
by Jess Riddle
Hi Jason,

While spruce and fir may be able to grow fine in OH, that doesn't mean they can reproduce there. For example, winters may not be cold enough to properly stratify the seeds or the seedlings might dry out. Spruce and fir are essentially northern/montane genera, so Ohio may simply be too warm/dry for them.

Jess

Re: Spruce and Firs Native to Ohio?

Posted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 10:49 pm
by jasonbaker
That's a good point. I didn't even think about elevation. There are a bunch of spruces that grow further south, but they all appear to be in mountainous areas. Ohio is definitely not mountainous. Summers can be pretty hot too. That would explain why they never moved into our area without being planted.