Balsam Fir vs Red Spruce

How to Tell a Balsam Fir from a Red Spruce Tree

Seven Ways to Tell a Balsam Fir from a Red Spruce Tree

New England and Atlantic Canada forests are full of balsam fir and spruce trees; the red spruce is the most wide spread.  Here are few simple ways to tell the difference:
Balsam Fir vs Red Spruce

1. Fir needles are soft (like fur)

2. Spruce needles are Sharp

3. Fir needles have two white lines on the underside (so do Canada Hemlock, but their needles and cones are much smaller)

4. Fir needles are Flat

Note the two white stripes on the underside of the needles.
Note the two white stripes on the underside of the needles.

5. You can roll a spruce needle between your fingers because it is square in cross section (the flat fir needles won’t roll)

6. Balsam Fir trees are aromatic and smell like a Christmas tree

7. The cones of Balsam Fir trees are much larger and usually fall apart when they fall to the ground.

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