How to select the best Christmas tree for yourself
December 6, 2005
Lunceford on Landscaping.BY LU SNYDERConsidering the long to-do lists that come with the holidays, it may be tempting to buy the first and cheapest Christmas tree you find. But a little thought and planning will ensure you find the best one.From afar, Christmas trees may all look the same – but they aren’t. Even two of the same species won’t necessarily have the same life-span once you bring them home.
Before you purchase a tree, consider where in your home you’ll place it. Will it be against a wall or in the middle of the room? This alone could determine whether you buy a “Charlie Brown” tree, or if you should pay the extra cost for a “perfect” one.Always make sure your tree is placed away from any heat sources, such as wood stoves, heaters and TVs. Not only will heat hasten the drying of your tree, it could become a fire hazard.Measure the width and height of the space for your tree (subtract the height of your tree stand) and measure the tree before you purchase it. There’s little worse than bringing your tree home and finding it’s too large for the space (remember Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation?).There are a variety of trees available to choose from. Their differences may be subtle, but choosing the one right for you may be all it takes to bring your holiday together smoothly. The stiff branches of Noble firs and blue spruce are perfect for heavier ornaments, according to the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA). The greens of the Noble fir also are ideal for wreaths and garlands.
Fraser firs and blue spruce have good needle retention, states the NCTA, though the spruce is likely to drop needles in a warm room. The Douglas and balsam firs are particularly fragrant.Choose a tree that looks green and fresh. Hold your hand around a branch, near the trunk, and run it toward you. While it’s normal for a fresh tree to lose a few needles, a dry and stressed tree will lose many. Avoid purchasing a dry tree, or it’s entirely possible it could be bare by Christmas.When you bring your tree home, use a small saw to cut about an inch off of the bottom at a slight angle, according to the University of Illinois Extension website, which will increase water absorption. Put it in a stand with water immediately and replenish the water frequently.No one species makes the perfect Christmas tree. By taking the time to pick the one that’s best for you and your home, you may well find your perfect tree.
Some common types of Christmas trees- Fraser fir branches turn slightly upward good form & needle retention excellent shipping characteristics- Blue spruce green to bluish gray sharp needles, stiff branches fragrant branches, but bad odor when needles are crushed- Noble fir needles turn upward, exposing lower branches stiff branches
– Douglas fir one of the preferred species of Christmas trees in U.S. soft, short needles sweet fragrance when crushed- Balsam fir needles last a very long time pleasing fragrance- Source: National Christmas Tree Association websiteLU SNYDER writes for Neils Lunceford Inc., a local landscape and design company based in Silverthorne. Contact the nursery at (970) 468-0340 with any questions.