Douglas Fir

Douglas Fir is, after Radiata Pine, the second most important softwood in New Zealand. About 5% of the total plantation forest area is occupied by it.

104,000 hectares

Of Douglas Fir are grown in New Zealand, mostly on the South Island (est.)

Short Facts:

  • highly durable 
  • softwood timber
  • very hardy tree
  • premium prices for timber with small imperfections
  • excellent framing timber

Botanical name:

Pseudotsuga menziesii

Other common names: 

Douglas-fir, Oregon Pine, NZ Oregon, Columbian Pine


  • Douglas Fir is the preferred species in regions too cold for Radiata pine.
  • Premium prices are paid for timber with small knots and a high percentage of heartwood.
  • Douglas Fir responds very well to good site preparation.

Harvest Age:

40 years


  • Heartwood - pale pinkish coloured
  • Sapwood - near-white


When growing Douglas Fir it should be focused on maximum volume/ ha rather than large fast-grown trees. Trees should be planted at a close enough spacing to restrict their branch size and square spacing is more efficient at controlling branch sizes than a rectangular spacing.


To grow optimal Douglas Fir it requires an area with moderate-high rainfall, which makes it suitable for most of New Zealand. The soil should be moist and free-draining, uncompacted and of moderate fertility.


When pruning Douglas Fir it is not advised to thin out the trees too much. The final crop should be aimed between 400 and 600 stems/ha, restricting the branch size and sapwood percentage.