What is the difference between fir and spruce

What is the difference between fir and spruce

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The difference between fir and spruce can be found upon a detailed examination of the crown: the structure and size of the needles, the color of the branches, the growth of cones are different. The distribution area of ​​trees is different, so the requirements for the place of growth are also different. Visually, the trees are very similar to each other.

What is the difference between spruce and fir

Evergreen coniferous crops belong to the Pine family, this is where their similarity ends, representatives belong to a different genus. The frost-hardy spruce (Picea) is common in the Northern Hemisphere. In the wild, forms dense forests. In Central Europe, it is part of mixed forest belts. The spruce grows up to 40 m tall and belongs to long-livers. Forms a pyramidal crown, the trunk is straight, light brown with a gray tint, the bark is scaly, rough.

Fir (Abies) is less frost-resistant, demanding on the place of growth, high humidity and a certain soil composition are required for the tree. In Russia, it is found less often than spruce. Differs in the speed of vegetation. Up to 10 years, the increase is minimal. It grows up to 60 m, life expectancy is much longer, this is another sign by which representatives of conifers differ. Found in the Primorsky Territory, the Caucasus, the Far East, in the southern part of Siberia. The photo shows that the tree and the fir have visual differences from each other. The fir has a crown of the correct pyramidal shape, the trunk is straight, smooth, dark gray. She lacks resin channels, resin accumulates on the surface of the branches and trunk in small bubble pockets.

Important! Spruce wood is considered more valuable in industry.

The Christmas tree is used as a building material for furniture, houses, musical instruments. The white color allows the use of wood for the manufacture of pulp and paper. The resin is used in the pharmaceutical industry.

Fir is distinguished by a more fragile wood, it is used only for the production of paper. The structure of the trunk is not resinous, short-lived as a building material. This property has found application in the manufacture of containers for food products. It is not widely used in medicine.

How to distinguish a Christmas tree from a fir

With a detailed comparison of spruce and fir, it is not difficult to distinguish between plants. Trees have a different crown structure, color and shape of the needles. Conifers differ in the arrangement of cones and the separation of seeds.

How to distinguish spruce and fir branches:



  • needles grow rarely, unevenly;
  • gaps are formed in the crown through which the bark of the tree is visible;
  • the plant looks naked;
  • lower branches are horizontal;
  • grow at an angle higher up the trunk;
  • on the north side, the length of the branches is shorter;
  • the crown is formed in the form of an uneven cone;
  • the shape of the branches is voluminous due to unevenly growing needles.
  • the needles are large, grows densely;
  • forms a solid mass, there are no gaps, the bark of the trunk and branches are not visible;
  • the tree looks voluminous, fluffy, elegant;
  • the lower circle of branches grows horizontally, the top is raised;
  • the higher the branches, the smaller the growth angle;
  • the crown is formed into a regular cone;
  • due to the density and direction of growth of the thorns, the branches look flat.

The needles of fir and spruce also differ from each other. Abies Feature:

  • deep green needles with 2 parallel light stripes along the edge;
  • needles are flat and long (up to 4.5 cm);
  • grow horizontally in 2 rows, in a spiral;
  • the end of the shoot looks cut off;
  • the tip is absent;
  • needles do not prick, soft to the touch;
  • thin at the base, widening upward;
  • the end part of the needle is slightly forked.

Important! Due to the superficial accumulation of resin, the fir differs from the tree by a persistent coniferous smell.

After the needles fall off, there are no protrusions on the branch. At the place of growth of a fallen needle, a hill remains with a clearly defined nest (place of growth), according to this feature, trees are also distinguished.

External characteristics of Picea:

  • the needles are green, differ from the fir in a lighter monochromatic color;
  • arranged in a spiral;
  • directed, unlike fir, in different directions;
  • four-sided shape, volumetric;
  • the needles are short, sharp at the end, hard.

Due to the versatility of the sharp needles, the tree prickles - this feature helps to distinguish representatives of the species.

Cones look different, spruce cones have a conical elongated brown shape. Cones grow at the end of perennial branches downward. After ripening, the seeds fall off, and the cones remain on the tree. The seeds are equipped with wings, which crumble when hitting the ground.

Fir cones are more rounded and light in color. They grow upward on the top of the tree, after ripening together with seeds they disintegrate into scales. Only the rod remains on the branch. The seeds do not crumble from the blow, the wings are tightly attached.

Summary table of differences between fir and spruce:





Thick, regular pyramidal shape.

With gaps, branches are shorter on one side.


Oval, grow upward, fall off along with the seeds in the fall.

Slightly elongated, dark brown, grows downward, after ripening remains on the tree.


Smooth, light gray with resin pockets.

Brown uneven, scaly, tuberous branches at the site of needles growth.


Flat, with densely spaced needles growing horizontally.

Bulky, sparse needles, grow in different directions.


Long, dark green at the edge with stripes, flat without a pointed end, soft.

Short, monophonic, tetrahedral, pointed at the end, rigid.

Trees are distinguished by a resinous smell; spruce has an unstable smell.

Which is better: fir or spruce for the New Year

When choosing a Christmas tree or fir for the New Year, pay attention to the appearance of the tree. The New Year tree is a collective term for decorating a spruce, pine or fir. Nurseries offer a variety of conifers with full characteristics. If a festive attribute is acquired at a city fair, you need to know how conifers differ and what will stand longer in a heated room.

Which costs longer - a tree or a fir

At low temperatures, there is no difference between a Christmas tree and a fir, the trees retain their needles for a long time. In a heated room, a tree is placed in a container with wet sand, placed away from heating appliances, the sand is constantly moistened. This method helps to increase the shelf life of trees. If the conditions are met, Picea will stand no more than 6 days and throw off the needles.

By this quality, Abies compares favorably, it can stand for more than 1 month, while maintaining its aesthetic appearance. The needles do not fall off, they only dry out. It is more difficult to acquire a tree, it is rarely put up for sale, the price offer is much higher. Conifers differ in the duration of crown preservation.

Which smells stronger - spruce or fir

The smell of fir differs from spruce, since it lacks resin channels, the enzyme accumulates on the surface of the branches. If a tree was brought into the room from the frost, the persistent smell of a coniferous forest immediately spreads. It lasts for a long time, more than 4 days. Spruce spreads a less intense smell and no more than a day. This feature is also distinguished by representatives of the Pine family.

Difference between spruce and fir in planting and care

Externally similar conifers are radically different when planted. For fir, open areas are chosen, partial shade is allowed. The soil is neutral, well-drained. Spruce is less demanding to the place than it compares favorably. Shade and moist soil are suitable for it, it grows on any soil composition. Types differ in frost resistance, spruce easily tolerates low temperatures, young seedlings do not need shelter for the winter.

They differ in survival rate in a new place, when planting, a Christmas tree seedling is acquired with a closed root, at the slightest drying out it will not take root. For fir planting material, moisture is not important. The plant always takes root well. The care of the species is different. The fir crown does not require formation, it grows evenly, maintaining strict forms. Spruce branches require length alignment and removal of dry fragments. Species differ on demand for watering. Fir root system tolerates drought well, spruce requires constant soil moisture. There are differences in the application of top dressing, the fir requires fertilizers up to 3 years of growth, the tree does not need additional nutrition.


The difference between fir and spruce lies in the structure of the crown, the shape and size of the thorns, the intensity of the smell and the way the cones are formed. Both representatives of the species are suitable for growing on a personal plot, agricultural technology is different. For the New Year's holiday, a tree is chosen at will, taking into account the fact that the conifers differ in the shelf life of the crown.

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