Best Choices for Christmas Trees
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 27, 2013
Ill. – Pining to get this
year's Christmas tree?
little knowledge about Christmas tree varieties will make your quest for the
'perfect' tree an easy one," said Ron Wolford, a University of Illinois
Extension horticulture educator.
provided the following brief descriptions of popular Christmas tree varieties:
balsamea) – short, flat, long-lasting needles that are rounded at the tip
and are 3/4 to 1-1/2 inches long; nice, dark green color with silvery cast and
fragrant. Named for the balsam or resin found in blisters on bark. Resin is
used to make micr
balsamea var.phanerolepis) – soft, short, bluish to dark green needles, 1/2
to 1 1/4 inches long, needles silver on underside. Strong branches and open
growing pattern. Good needle retention and fragrance.
menziesii) – good fragrance; holds blue to dark green; 1- to 1-1/2-inch
needles; needles have one of the best aromas among Christmas trees when
crushed; branches are spreading and drooping. After being cut, the Douglas fir
will last three to four weeks. Named after David Douglas who studied the tree
in the 1800s; good conical shape; can live for a thousand years.
fraseri) – dark green, flattened needles that are 1/2 to 1 inch long; good
needle retention; nice scent; pyramid-shaped, strong branches that turn upward.
The Fraser fir was named for botanist John Fraser who explored the southern
Appalachians in the late 1700s.
fir (Adies grandis)
– shiny, dark green needles about 1 to 1-1/2 inches long; the needles when
crushed, give off a citrusy smell. Will last three to four weeks after being
fir (Abies procera)
– 1-inch-long needles, bluish green with a silvery appearance; has short, stiff
branches; great for heavier ornaments; keeps well; used to make wreaths, door
swags, and garland. With good care, the tree will last for six weeks after
concolor) – blue-green needles are 1/2 to 1-1/2 inches long; nice shape and
good aroma, a citrus scent; good needle retention. In nature, the concolor fir
can live to 350 years.
fir (Pinus nigra)
– dark green needles, 4 to 6 inches long; retains needles well; moderate
resinosa ) – dark green, 4- to 6-inch-long needles; big and bushy.
sylvestris) – most common Christmas tree; stiff branches hold heavy
ornaments well; stiff, dark green, 1-inch long needles; holds needles for four
weeks; needles will stay on even when dry; has open appearance and more room
for ornaments; will support heavy ornaments; keeps aroma throughout the season.
Introduced in the United States by European settlers.
virginiana) – dark green needles are 1-1/2 to 3 inches long in twisted
pairs; strong branches enabling it to hold heavy ornaments; strong aromatic
pine scent; a popular southern Christmas tree.
strobus) – soft, blue-green needles, 2- to 5-inch-long needles in bundles of
five; retains needles throughout the holiday season; very full appearance;
little or no fragrance; less allergic reactions as compared to more fragrant
trees; doesn't hold heavy ornaments well. Largest pine in U.S.; state tree of
Michigan and Maine; slender branches will support fewer and smaller decorations
as compared to Scotch pine.
pungens) – dark green to powdery blue; very stiff needles, 3/4 to 1-1/2
inches long; good form; will drop needles in a warm room; symmetrical, but best
among species for needle retention; branches are stiff and will support many
heavy decorations. The blue spruce is the state tree of Utah and Colorado, and
it can live in nature 600 to 800 years.
abies) – needles 1/2 to 1 inch long; shiny, dark green. Needle retention is
poor without proper care; strong fragrance; nice conical shape. The Norway
spruce is very popular in Europe.
glauca) – needles 1/2 to 3/4 inch long; green to bluish green, short, stiff
needles; crushed needles have an unpleasant odor; good needle retention, holds
ornaments well. The white spruce is the state tree of South Dakota.
x leylandii) – dark
green in color, no aroma, has a good shape, will not support large ornaments,
very popular in the southeast United States.
variety of Christmas tree you choose for your home, proper watering and keeping
your house as moist and cool as possible will help lengthen enjoyment of your
tree and safety," Wolford said.
information, visit the "Christmas Trees and More" website at http://urbanext.illinois.edu/trees/.
Source: Ron Wolford, Extension Educator, Horticulture, firstname.lastname@example.org