Choosing a Real Tree

There are many types of trees used as Christmas Trees.  Click on the tree type to see pictures:

The Firs:  Douglas Fir | Balsam Fir | Fraser Fir | Canaan Fir | Grand Fir | Noble Fir | Nordmann Fir | White Fir/Concolor Fir.

The Pines:  Scotch Pine | White PinePonderosa Pine | Red Pine | Afghan Pine | Austrian Pine | Virginia Pine.

The Spruces:  White Spruce | Norway Spruce | Blue Spruce | Black Hills Spruce, Colorado Blue Spruce.

The Cedars:  Eastern Red Cedar | Deodar Cedar.

Cypress:  Leyland Cypres | Arizona Cypress.

Carolina Sapphire

When selecting a real tree:

  • Don’t get carried away with tree size!  Choose a tree at least one foot less than the ceiling height.  Room is needed to place the tree in the stand and place decorations on top of the tree.
  • Make sure the bottom of the tree is long enough to be placed in the stand.  About an inch must be cut off off the bottom when setting the tree up in the home.  Note:  This must be done within an hour of the first watering so ideally cut it at home just before you put it up.  Water right away with warm (not boiling) water after it is put up and check a few hours later.
  • The tree should not be wilted.  Also run you hand over the branches.  The needles should not come off, break, or be brittle.
  • Check for insects.  Shake the tree or used compressed air to blow them out.

Christmas Trees are grown to be Harvested

There are those who would have you believe that purchasing a fresh cut Christmas tree is not an environmentally friendly act. On the contrary, Christmas trees are planted with the sole intent of harvesting them on time for the holiday season. Every time one of these farmed trees is cut down another one is planted in its place, ensuring that the cycle of life continues. That cycle is ten years long, during which time the land that the trees grow on cannot be used for anything else. In our book, that’s called natural preservation, not anti-environmental deforestation.

Ninety-nine percent of all Christmas trees sold in the United States are grown on Christmas tree farms. In other words, they are planted with the sole intent of harvesting them when they mature, much like crops of corn, soybeans, and wheat. Is it wrong to harvest those crops? Of course it isn’t, so why should cutting down Christmas trees when they’re at an optimum size be disputed? Truth be told, their presence actually helps the environment, consuming carbon dioxide and generating oxygen.

Depending on what part of the country you live in, the Christmas tree you will buy this year will most likely be either a fir or pine tree. The most common are the Douglas fir and the Balsam fir, both resilient breeds that hold their shape and stay green for weeks after being cut. Other, less popular substitutes, like the Blue and White Spruce, tend to lose their needles too quickly after being cut, so tree farms don’t generally grow them. If you happen to see one at a home or public location, it was most likely cut from the wild.

In certain parts of Europe, the spruce is more common and can be found growing on Christmas tree farms. The Norway spruce and the Serbian Spruce are good examples of this. Fir trees are also popular in Europe, since their needles are softer, and the Swiss pine has been gaining in popularity of late. All totaled, there are 96 million farm-grown Christmas trees sold each holiday season. Over 100 million new ones are planted each year, so is the environment really suffering from this practice? We think not. The land is preserved, oxygen is created, and the time-honored custom of cutting down your own Christmas tree is preserved – without deforestation.


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