Deck the Halls with our Christmas Tree Selection Guide
November 19, 2018
Whether you’re decked out for Christmas the minute Thanksgiving is over or you’re a last minute decorator, putting up a Christmas tree is a sign that the holiday has arrived! Will you choose a fresh-cut or artificial tree? Which tree species do you prefer? Our Christmas tree selection guide outlines the different types of Christmas trees and their advantages to help you decide.
Different Types of Christmas Trees
In the debate between live and artificial trees, people have strong opinions. If you’re still undecided, however, we’re sharing the advantages of each type of tree.
Fresh-cut trees are grown on local tree farms, cut, and delivered to our Home & Garden Stores throughout the holiday season.
- You can shop many different tree species, in a variety of sizes all in one location.
- With proper watering, fresh-cut trees stay healthy and fresh for about a month.
- Tree farms follow sustainable growing practices. New seedlings are planted each year to replace harvested trees.
- The trees can be responsibly recycled after the holidays through community programs.
Although the up-front cost may seem high, artificial trees can last up to 10 years. When you look at the the “cost per year” price, you’ll find its right on par with a fresh-cut tree.
- Modern artificial trees have improved greatly in both realistic looks and quality.
- They’re available in a variety of shapes and sizes and designed to mimic many common tree species.
- Many artificial trees you can buy are pre-lit and/or flocked, taking some of the decorating duties off your plate.
- There is no watering or maintenance necessary.
Living Christmas trees, purchased from a garden center are also growing in popularity. They allow you to celebrate the holidays and then plant your tree outdoors for even more years of enjoyment.
- You won’t need a tree stand. Living trees are sold in soil-filled containers or with burlap-wrapped root balls which you can place in a container to keep the tree firmly upright.
- The soil and rootball add a lot of weight, so living trees are typically sold in smaller sizes.
- Spruces and firs are great living Christmas tree species for the Northeast.
Popular Christmas Tree Species
If you make the choice to buy a fresh-cut Christmas tree, you can choose from many popular tree species. Stauffers carries the following species in their Home & Garden Stores.
Fraser firs have a unique, dark blue-green color and a pleasant scent. They keep their form and have good needle retention. Fraser firs are available from 3’ to 12’.
Douglas firs have a dark green to blue-green color. Their soft needles radiate in all directions from the branch. They may not be best-suited for heavy ornaments. Douglas firs are available from 4’ to 11’.
Concolor firs have a lighter green color and a distinct, citrusy scent. They have small, narrow needles that grow in rows and good needle retention. Concolor firs are available from 5’ to 8’.
Canaan firs are described as a combination of Fraser firs and Balsam firs. They have many of the features of a Balsam fir, including its dark green color but with the better needle retention of a Fraser fir. Canaan firs are available from 6′ to 9’.
White pines have soft, flexible needles and a blue-green color. They have good needle retention but little aroma. Their soft branches are not recommended for heavy ornaments. White pines are available from 6′ to 8’.
Watch our Choosing & Caring for Your Christmas Tree video for even more information on our tree species.
Christmas Tree Selection
These additional tips will ensure that you select your best Christmas tree yet!
The Right Size
When you see the most beautiful Christmas tree, it’s easy to convince yourself that “Of course, it will fit!” But you need to be sure! Before shopping for a Christmas tree, measure the height of your ceiling and the width of the space you’ve designated for your tree.
A helpful tip: trees are typically trimmed to an 80% taper, so a 10’ tree will be approximately 8’ wide at the bottom.
Test for Freshness
Here’s an easy trick to test the freshness of a cut tree: Run a branch through your enclosed hand. If the tree is fresh, the needles should not come off. Other signs of a fresh tree to look for include:
- Outer branches that are pliable.
- Foliage that has no discoloration.
- A tree that has a pleasant scent.
- Bark that is not wrinkled.
Choose a tree that works for the ornaments you will hang. For heavy, glass ornaments, avoid a tree that has soft or thin branches and opt for a tree species with thick, sturdy branches. If you’re hanging lighter, non-breakable ornaments, you don’t have to be as choosy with the tree species you select.