Christmas Tree Guide

Christmas trees

Modern transportation has allowed a greater variety of evergreen species available for use as Christmas trees.  So that you may be an informed consumer, here is a listing of Christmas tree species and their attributes.


Virginia pine:  A popular one for growers due to its rapid growth and ability to take heavy shearing.  Foliage is dense with light green needles around 3 inches long; Needle retention is good if obtained reasonably fresh; Fragrance is fair; Cost is usually lower than most.


Scotch pine:  Very stiff dark green needles that are 2-2 ½ inches in length; Needle retention is good to excellent; Good fragrance; Cost is usually on the low end.


White pine:  Very soft blue green needles around 4 inches long; Branches are flexible and do not handle heavy ornaments well; Needle retention is good to excellent; good fragrance; Cost is mid-range.


Fraser fir:  Shiny bright to dark green needles with silver undersides; Needles are ½-1inch in length; excellent needle retention; very fragrant tree and very popular; Cost is on the high end;


Douglas fir:  Soft green to blue-green color with needles 1 inch in length; Good to excellent needle retention, very fragrant; Cost is high.


Concolor fir:  soft silvery blue to silvery green color with needles 1½-2 inches in length; Fair needle retention; Fragrance is excellent, giving a citrus aroma; Cost is high;


Canaan Fir: This is a relative newcomer discovered in the mountains of West Virginia; it’s a variety of Balsam fir and has a nice green color with soft needles; needle retention is good, as is the fragrance. Cost is medium to high


Eastern Red Cedar:  This native is what a lot of us older folk grew up with. It has scales rather than needles that are prickly to the touch and very fragrant; Not as long lasting as the pines, so the recommendation is no more than 2-3 weeks indoors; cost is on the low end.


Leyland Cypress: This one is starting to catch on, and reminds you of a well formed cedar; it has scales rather than needles, but they don’t stick you like a cedar; They have very full foliage with good needle retention; little to no fragrance; cost is midrange.

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