Hazards of Fir Trees

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Fir Tree Branch Are you partial to fir trees? Whether you grew up in the Great Northwest and being surrounded by firs just feels natural to you, you adore the piney scent, or have a penchant for an evergreen (which a lot of firs are) to enjoy greenery year-round, there’s a lot to love about firs.

It’s also important to know that firs come with plenty of hazards, and some you may not realize until it’s too late.

A fir catastrophe is a tough lesson to learn. Before you start planting these trees, or if you’ve already bought a property that’s rich with them, keep these risks in mind. A little knowledge and a dose of preventative care can help you make the right planting choices—or even prevent a disaster.

1. They’re Prone To Falling

Here’s a little factoid the next time you need to come up with a conversation starter: Fir trees fall over more than any other tree. Usually, they have multiple tops instead of a single leader, or they might have root rot from drainage problems. If you notice standing water around a fir tree, that’s bad news. The upside? If you’re stuck on having firs around, a little pruning and keeping an eye on the root system can help keep your tree upright.

2. They’re Excellent Kindling

There’s a reason there are so many warnings about Christmas tree fires every year. If you celebrate the season with a tree, you know how thirsty firs can get (and how quickly they can dry out). A dry fir, whether indoors or outdoors, is a recipe for a bonfire. Outdoors, an errant cigarette might be all it takes to catch your beloved tree on fire, and if it’s close to a building or car that can be devastating.

3. They’re Toxic

Fir trees are actually mildly toxic, especially to a number of animals. Fir oils, when ingested, can lead to vomiting and diarrhea. The needles themselves aren’t easy to digest, and can even puncture internal organs. Of course, you probably don’t make it a habit of munching on your trees. However, if your child tries it on a silly dare or you have a pet who thinks everything is a snack, this can be a big concern.

4. They’re Natural Cloggers

Some people prefer raking or sweeping up after big-leafed trees like maples, while others prefer picking up needles. If you’re more of a fir-leaner, don’t forget what a slushy mess these trees can be when it’s wet or snowy outside. Plus, needles can get lodged in places leaves can’t, such as the intricate innards of nearby drainage systems. Cleaning them out can be a nightmare, and can even permanently damage some systems. Consider just what type of cleaner you are, and choose a tree that complements it.

Firs are beautiful, majestic and the right choice for many people. However, just like any other long-term relationship, make sure you know what you’re getting into.

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