More than a dozen evergreen species are sold for Christmas Trees, each with its own appeal. But each also offers different advantages to consider when buying. Below are the six most popular choices listed by the National Christmas Tree Association, along with their individual characteristics.
With dark green foliage and a stately form, balsam fir retains its fragrance throughout the holiday season. Its needles are also long-lasting. Native to the U.S. Northeast and Canada, it displays relatively dense, dark-green foliage, ending in a spire-like tip
This is the tree chosen for the White House Christmas Tree. Fraser firs are similar to balsam firs, but in nature the two have different ranges. Native to the Appalachian Mountains, Fraser firs are grown widely in the U.S Southeast for Christmas trees. They are aromatic with a handsome shape, blue-green color and branches turning slightly upward.
This is the most common Christmas tree sold in the U.S, according to the Association. A hardy, introduced species, it’s easily planted and grows readily across a wide range. The needles don’t fall, even if it dries out. It keeps well and can remain fresh throughout the holiday season. Scotch Pines are bright green with inch-long needles in bundles of two.
Another of the top Christmas tree choices, Douglas fir is native to the Pacific Northwest. The needles are soft, dark green to blue green and produce a sweet fragrance when crushed. Branches are sturdy enough for most ornaments.
A Pacific Northwest native with dense, upturned needles, the noble fir has long been admired for its beauty. Its branches are stiff enough to support heavy ornaments and spaced widely enough for longer ornaments. The foliage stays green a long time and is often used for wreaths and other holiday displays.
A major tree of Christmas tree growers in the U.S. South, the Virginia Pine has stout branches that trim well. It’s a small to medium tree with dense foliage. Its needles grow in pairs and are relatively short in comparison with other pines.
The largest U.S pine, this tree has soft, bluish-green needles, but little fragrance. It is not recommended for heavy ornaments.
Tree lots often stock a variety of cut trees, many traveling from farms some distance from their destination. But that doesn’t mean they won’t be fresh when you buy them. According to the National Christmas Tree Association, except for the U.S. Deep South, trees have gone into a dormancy stage before they are pre-cut. Once inside a warm home, they draw up water and stay fresh throughout the holidays.
Before setting your tree up in its stand, cut a ½-inch slice from the base of the trunk so it can begin drawing up water.