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In this page, we provide information about the different tree varieties.  As tree growers, we are often asked, what is the best.  Our best answer is that it comes down to what you like...



Why popular: lasts longer and looks better and holds heavier ornaments.


Color: dark blue-green Needles: excellent retention. 1/2-1 inch long, soft to touch, dark green on top and silvery white on bottom


Scent: excellent, pine


Typical shape: tall, narrower at bottom, more pocketed for ornaments placed into the tree


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 1700's.


Why popular: lasts longer and looks better and holds heavier ornaments.

Color: light to medium green


Needles: excellent retention. 1-1-1/2 inch long, soft to touch, very green


Scent: excellent, pine


Typical shape: wider at bottom, more full throughout


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 persistent 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 1800's.



Why popular: good ornamental tree, citrus scent, unique coloring

Color: bluish green


Needles: good retention, 2-3 inch long,


Scent: excellent, citrus


Typical shape: medium to wide at bottom, more full throughout


One of the longest-needled firs and is sometimes mistaken for a pine. A significant portion of these Christmas trees are used in California: 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 citrus or orange aroma and good needle retention.



Why popular: stiff branches are good for heavy ornaments, if it gets dry it won't drop needles


Color: bright green to dark green with bluish tones


Needles: good retention, 1-3 inch long


Scent: fair


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. It was first used in reforestation efforts in the New World. Scotch pine tree has 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.



Why popular: long soft needles are good if children are around


Color: bluish green to silver green


Needles: 2-1/2-5 inch long, feathery soft


Scent: very little aroma


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 and the state tree of Michigan and Maine.



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 and the state tree of both Utah & Colorado.

Douglas Fir image provided courtesy of Pinetum Christmas Trees

All other tree variety images reprinted from the NCTA web page

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