A Guide for Christmas Trees Selection

If you prefer a real Christmas tree, which type is right for you?

All Christmas trees have some features and traits that make them 'preferred' over other tree species. Color, shape, aroma, needle retention, and how well they support heavy ornaments, are a few of the major considerations for selecting one specific style of Christmas tree over another. The following is a list of the most popular types of trees used in the U.S., along with their good (and bad) points with respect to decorating them as Christmas trees.

white pine Christmas treeWHITE PINE:
The White Pine is a beautiful tree to use if you want to 'accent' the tree and not the decorations since its branches and long soft needles are a little too flexible for supporting a lot of heavy ornaments. They retain their needles very well through the season when properly watered. White pines have little or no fragrance, and are sometimes sought by people who suffer from allergic reactions to more fragrant trees. Their bluish-green branches are preferred for used in wreaths, garlands, and centerpieces due to their long, feathery, soft needles.

Fraser Fir Christmas treeFRASER FIR:
The Fraser fir is perhaps the most popular of all North American Christmas tree species. They are a silvery dark blue-green in color and soft to the touch. They have a pleasant, but not over powering scent. The Fraser fir's firm branches turn slightly upward, which makes them a little easier to decorate than most trees. The firm branches can hold a lot of tree lights and Christmas ornaments. The Fraser grows to an almost perfect shape, and when properly watered, they have excellent needle retention. They also transport very well.

Blue Spruce Christmas treesBLUE SPRUCE:
The Blue Spruce - commonly referred to as the Colorado Blue Spruce - has an attractive silvery blue foliage. However, if your decorating scheme does not go well with this bluish tint, this tree may not be right for you. It is best among all species for needle retention, however the needles can have a bad odor when crushed. Their powdery blue color is highly favored for landscaping, and often sold as a "living" tree to be planted after the holidays. A young blue spruce can be pleasingly symmetrical with strong limbs that will hold a lot of heavy ornaments.

Douglas Fir Christmas treeDOUGLAS FIR:
The Douglas fir tree is one of the top major Christmas tree species in the U.S. and is found on nearly every tree lot. They make a beautiful Christmas tree with soft shiny deep green needles and naturally grow to a pleasing cone shape. They are a very aromatic tree and fill the room with a sweet pine forest fragrance. When well watered they retain their needles quiet well throughout the holiday period. The drawback to a Douglas fir is they may be difficult to decorate if they are real full, since there is little space between branches to hang decorations.

Balsam Fir Christmas treesBALSAM FIR:
The Balsam fir makes a beautiful Christmas tree and is highly popular. It has a dark-green appearance and retains its short, flat, aromatic needles and pleasing fragrance throughout the Christmas season when properly watered. Their pleasant sweet pine forest fragrance will light up your home for the holidays. Balsam firs will often require some trimming and shearing to achieve the nice conical shape that most people desire. Their soft branches may not be able to hold an abundance of lights and heavy ornaments.

Scotch Pine Christmas tressSCOTCH PINE:
The Scotch Pine is the most common Christmas tree in North America, but you should consider gloves when decorating them, since its dark green needles can be sharp as pins. Scotch pines are known for their stiff branches that make them an excellent choice for a lot of older heavy bulb type lights and/or ceramic ornaments. Their aroma is long-lasting and will linger through the season. Their needles provide excellent retention and rarely fall off even when the tree is dry. They have an excellent survival rate, and make a good choice for replanting.

Virginia Pine Christmas treeVIRGINIA PINE:
The Virginia pine has only recently begun to be extensively used as a Christmas tree. Because they tolerate warmer temperatures so well, they have been developed as a southern alternative to the Scotch pine. Their stout branches and dense foliage responds well to trimming and can easily be formed into a nice pyramid shape. They are an excellent choice for heavy decoration. When kept properly watered they retain needles well through the holiday season. Virginia pines have a pleasant aroma but it is soft and not over powering.

White Spruce Christmas treeWHITE SPRUCE:
The White spruce is a regional favorite Christmas tree of the northeast US and Canada, because it grows into the best shapes in the wild. It also makes an excellent choice in homes with small children, because itís short needles have blunt tips. However, as is common with spruces the needles have a bad aroma when they are crushed. White spruces have excellent foliage and a good natural shape. The needle retention is a little better in a White Spruce than it is among other varieties spruces. The bluish-green trees do real well with heavy ornamentation.

Noble Fir Christmas treesNOBLE FIR:
If you are the type of person that likes to put up your Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving, and leave it up until two or three weeks after New Years, then the Noble Fir is the Christmas tree for you. It has the longest 'cut life' or 'keep ability' of all the common trees used for holiday decorating. The Noble fir is also popular for its beauty and its stiff branches, which make it a good tree for heavy ornaments and multiple strands of Christmas lights. They have a pleasing fragrance and needles that are not too sharp to decorate easily.

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