The soft wood of grand fir is a valued source of pulpwood and is harvested as timber even though it is weaker and more prone to decay than many other species. It is also used as plywood and has been used for various kinds of rough construction, such as framing, sheathing, subflooring, planking, beams, posts, siding, paneling, millwork, prefabricated buildings and structural members, furniture parts, and boxes and crates.
The thick-foliage, symmetry, deep green shiny color, and strong, orangish fragrance make grand fir one of the preferred species of Christmas trees grown in the Northwest. Most seedlings produced for Christmas tree growers originate from the "Panhandle" area of Idaho. In most areas, it will produce a marketable tree in 8-10 years. Grand fir also is valued in plantings in recreation areas and urban sites. It grows quickly in the moister parts of Britain and is cultivated for timber in western and northern Europe.
The aromatic properties of grand fir were important in many of its uses by American Indians. The needles were boiled to make a medicinal tea for colds. Boughs were brought inside as an air freshener and burned as incense and to make a purifying smoke to ward off illnesses. Dried, crushed needles have been used as baby powder. The pitch of young trees was mixed with oil to be used as a deodorant and rubbed on the scalp to prevent balding.
The famous Barlow Road snub-trees on the south side of Mount Hood in Oregon were grand firs. They were used by early settlers to control the rate of descent of their covered wagons on a particularly steep slope in their trek from east to west. Some of the rope-burned trees are still standing after 150 years.
The majority of pileated woodpecker roost trees in northeastern Oregon were grand fir, both live and dead, where a hollow chamber had been created by decay from Indian paint fungus. The majority of roosts occurred in old-growth stands of grand fir.
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