It is hard to look at this picture and think: weed. Yet, Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) is by far the greatest number of tree seedlings I pull during my days of gardening. It is a pioneer species, meaning it colonizes open ground. Arthur Kruckeberg in his classic “Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest” says Doug firs are “so common and so successfully self-perpetuating… that scarcely anyone thinks of propagating it intentionally for ornamental use”. He goes on to describe it virtues for two more pages. Though any of you who have gardened with, I mean under, them know the pitfalls. They rob the soil of moisture drop needles perpetually, and are brittle, dropping twiglets in a breeze and giant limbs in a gale. A global tree census in 2015 numbered 422 living trees per person on the planet. In the Pacific Northwest I bet a vast proportion of those trees are Doug-firs.
By shear ubiquity, they are nearly invisible, a dark backdrop to our busy Northwest lives.