It’s that time again to choose the perfect tree for your holiday season. Although artificial Christmas trees have become more common, a live tree offers not only its fresh beauty but also that crisp, fresh, evergreen scent.
Christmas tree shoppers usually select a tree for its shape, color, size, needle length, and scent. The five most common types of Christmas trees for this area each have different and unique characteristics. A brief description of each type may help in deciding which tree is right for your home.
• Colorado spruce. This evergreen can come in green or blue-green color and has branches that are strong and stiff. The branches are well able to support heavy lights and many ornaments. It has sharp, stiff, 1-1.5” needles. This tree is least tolerant of dry conditions and will drop its needles quickly if allowed to dry out. It will begin to drop needles in the home at about one to two weeks.
• Fraser fir. The fraser fir has a delightful evergreen aroma and comes in a deep green color. Branches on the tree are symmetrical and strong and can support ornaments well. Needles are soft, flat and about ½-1” long. Needle retention in the home is four to six weeks.
• Scotch pine. Scotch pines come in blue-green and green in color. Branches are strong and long and support ornaments well. Needles on this tree are long and stiff growing to 1–3”. This tree has a fragrant, piney scent and will retain its needles in the home for 3 to 4 weeks.
• Douglas fir. The Douglas fir comes in green and blue-green. Branches are stiff and strong and its needles grow from 1 – 1.5” in length. This fir has a sweet, fragrant aroma. Needle retention is from 3 to 4 weeks.
• Eastern white pine. White pines are blue-green to yellow-green in color. The branches are slim and soft and can support light-weight ornaments. Needles on this tree are long and soft growing to 2 – 5”. White pines have a piney aroma and needle retention is 3 to 4 weeks.
When selecting a Christmas tree, look for freshness and sniff for an aromatic scent. To check a tree for freshness, brush it gently with your gloved hand and watch for excessive needle drop. You can also lift the tree and tap it gently to the ground. Brown needles falling from inside the tree are just natural dead needle shed, but if many green needles fall it may not be fresh. Also, try bending a single needle. If it bends but does not break, it is another indicator of freshness.
Once your tree has been selected, have the dealer trim about an inch off the bottom of the trunk. As soon as possible, get your tree into its stand and fill with water. Be sure to check the water each day and fill it with water as needed. Keep your tree away from any heat source, including your television. Any of these will dry the tree out.
With plenty of water and a cool, well ventilated location, your Christmas tree will remain fresh, fragrant, and beautiful throughout the holiday season.
Here’s wishing you a safe and a Merry Christmas.