Haven’t Gotten Your Tree Yet? Here’s a Guide to Finding the Perfect One

published Dec 7, 2018
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There’s nothing quite like having a real Christmas tree in your house, the fresh smell of pine adding to the festive feel that’s so unique to this time of year. There are several varieties of trees to choose from, all with unique characteristics that are important to consider. Do you want a strong scent of pine? A tree that doesn’t shed too much? Branches that can support heavier ornaments?

The experts at the National Christmas Tree Association have all the information you need on selecting, caring for, and recycling farm-grown Christmas trees. Read on to learn about some common Christmas trees and their key features. Happy picking!

Douglas fir

One of the most popular Christmas tree species in the U.S., Douglas firs have soft needles that are dark green to blue-green in color and grow in every direction from the branch. When crushed, its needles give off a sweet fragrance.

White pine

Characterized by soft, flexible needles and bluish-green in color, white pine trees are the largest variety found in the U.S. So if you’ve got the space, go big! These trees tend to keep most of their needles but don’t have a strong pine scent, and they aren’t recommended for heavy ornaments.

White spruce

White spruce trees, on the contrary to white pine, are great for ornaments due to their short, stiff needles with a blunt tip. Also bluish-green in color with a good natural shape and better needle retention compared to other spruces, the only downside is that its crushed needles have a bad aroma.

Fraser fir

Dark blue-green in color with a lovely shape, a nice scent, and good needle retention, Fraser firs are distinguished by branches that turn slightly upward.

Leyland cypress

Perfect for those with sap allergies as they do not produce sap, Leyland cypress is the most popular Christmas tree in the Southeast and characterized by their dark green-gray color and subtle aroma.

Colorado blue spruce

A stunning blue-gray color and symmetrical in form, these trees have good needle retention. Their sharp needles are often used for stuffing pine pillows, though note that these needles give off an unpleasant smell when crushed.

Concolor fir

These trees check all the boxes: a nice color, good needle retention, an attractive shape, pleasing aroma, and small, narrow needles.

Scotch pine

Scotch pines stay fresh throughout the holiday season and have excellent needle retention. Bright green in color, these trees have an impressive survival rate and are easy to replant.