It’s that time of year when we go to our favorite Christmas Tree Farm and pick out the tree that’s right for our family! It may be a difficult decision to make, but here’s some advice on things to look out for to make your tree shopping a huge success!
- Know who will be helping to decorate the tree!
- Does anyone have pine allergies that you need to be aware of? If that’s the case, maybe an artificial tree is the way to go! (Read about the environmental impact of artificial vs. live trees here!) If you are determined to still use a live tree, try to go for the less aromatic varieties of trees as they tend to reduce allergic reactions. White Pines tend to be good for this, but since they are flexible and soft, it is hard to hang bigger ornaments on the branches.
- Is anyone with sensitive skin helping? Some varieties can have more prickly needles than other varieties. Remember this little phrase – “Flat, friendly fir. Sharp, spiny spruce!” While some Spruce varieties can be beautiful and keep their needles for a long time after being cut, it may be a better idea to search out a fir variety if younger family members or those with sensitive skin will be helping wrap lights or garlands around the tree.
- What are your tree priorities?
- Are you looking for branches that will hold heavier ornaments? Maybe you should find a White Spruce! Their branches and needles are short and stiff, so if you have heavy and dense ornaments, don’t worry about branches drooping with this species!
- Are you partial to a nice wintery blue-green? Color does vary from tree to tree, so be aware. For instance, White Spruce has a blue-green color, Blue Spruce has a (who’d-a-thunk) blue hue, Douglas Fir has a deep, vivid green color, and Balsam Firs have a dark green color.
- Do your ornaments fall off every year?
- If you have a cat, dog, or child that likes removing ornaments from your tree, you might want to consider searching out a Fraser Fir! The branches of this tree turn upwards, preventing gravity from helping your pets or young kids knock the ornaments off. They also hold garlands in place very nicely.
- Are you tired of vacuuming up needles? Look for a species with a good needle retention rate!
- Spruce, White and Scotch Pines along with Douglas and Balsam Firs tend to hold the needles the longest after being cut.
- What is the end goal?
- Are you trying to replant the tree after the holiday season? Try to go for a native tree like a White, Red, or Virginia Pine, an Eastern Hemlock, or an Eastern Red Cedar! Once you have planted these trees, they will thrive and be a valuable wildlife resource.
- Are you just tossing the tree outside? Some trees provide valuable wildlife habitat! Some animals may munch on the bark of the tree and many spruce trees, with their denser foliage, provide great cover for small animals and birds! If some Firs haven’t lost too many of their needles, some wildlife species rely on fir needles as food!
There may seem like there’s a lot to take into consideration when picking out your perfect tree, but in the end, it’s simply what you like best! Remember to have a fun holiday season and enjoy the festive feel that the Christmas tree will provide.