Top 10 Real Christmas Trees [LIST]
There are more and more tied to the rooftops of cars. It's time to get your Christmas tree. If you like to go for the real variety, the following Christmas Tree species have been voted and ranked as the most popular Christmas trees grown and sold in the United States. The poll is based on the ten most common trees available for purchase. They are ranked according to the poll popularity. The National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA) reports that millions of U.S. families plan to focus their holiday traditions around a real Christmas tree.
Virginia pine has only recently been used as a Christmas tree. It tolerates warmer temperatures and has been developed as a southern alternative to Scotch pine. The tree has to be mechanically formed into shape; the foliage is dark green to gray in color; the limbs are stout with woody branches.
White Fir or Concolor Fir
White fir is one of the longest-needled firs and is sometimes mistook for a pine. Concolor fir has blue-green needles that are 1/2 to 1-1/2 inches long. The fir has a nice shape with a pleasing aroma and good needle retention.
Eastern White Pine
White pine has been valued as a timber tree for centuries but can be cultivated for a Christmas tree if heavily sheared. White pine is grown mostly in the mid-Atlantic states for commercial Christmas trees. The tree retains needles throughout the holiday season but has little or no fragrance and not a good tree for heavy ornaments. The tree is sought by people who suffer from allergic reactions to more fragrant trees. The White pine is the largest pine in United States.
White spruce is a tree of the northeast US and Canada. It is a regional favorite because it grows into the best shapes in the wild. White spruce has green to bluish green needles but crushed needles have an unpleasant odor. Another problem with the spruce is it has poor needle retention. The tree is excellent for heavy ornaments.
Eastern Red Cedar
Branches of eastern red cedar are light but compact and forms a pyramidal crown as a young tree. Very aromatic needles are a dark, shiny, green color and sharp and prickly to the touch.
Scotch or "Scots" pine is the most planted commercial Christmas tree in North America according to NCTA. However, this survey does not suggest that it is the most popular. A true pine, Scots pine was imported from Europe and is not native to America. Scotch pine trees have stiff branches, two bundled dark green needles 1 to 3 inches long that are retained for four weeks. The aroma is long-lasting and lingers through the entire season. Scotch pine does not drop needles when dry - excellent retention.
Colorado Blue Spruce
The Colorado Blue Spruce is most familiar to people as an ornamental landscape tree. The tree has dark green to powdery blue needles, 1 to 3 inches long and a pyramidal form when young. Colorado blue spruce is very often sold "living" and with an entire root ball - to be planted after the holidays. The spruce was chosen in 1978 and planted as the official living White House Lawn Christmas tree. The young tree is pleasingly symmetrical, is best among species for needle retention.
Balsam fir is a pyramidal tree with short, flat, long-lasting, aromatic needles. Balsam fir and Fraser fir have many similar characteristics and some botanists consider them extensions of the same species. Their geographic ranges do not overlap and the Balsam fir has to have cold winters and cool summers. Balsam fir has a nice, dark green color and very fragrant. The tree was named for the balsam or resin found in blisters on bark and which was used to treat wounds in Civil War.
Douglas Fir is not a true fir but actually has its own unique classification. Unlike true firs the cones on Douglas fir hang downward. Douglas fir grows cone-shaped naturally, has 1 to 1-1/2 inch needles that are persistant and has a sweet scent when crushed. The Doug fir tree is shipped to and found in nearly every tree lot in the Unites States. The tree was named after David Douglas who studied the tree in the 1800s.
Fraser fir is a native southern fir and very similar to Balsam fir. Some say it is a southern extension of the Balsam fir species and naturally grows at elevations above 5,000 feet. This fir has dark green needles, 1/2 to 1 inch long and ships well. The tree has excellent needle retention along with a nice scent. Fraser fir was named for Scot botanist John Fraser who explored the southern Appalachians in the late 1700s.