Selecting a Christmas Tree
Which Variety is Right for You, and What to Look For!
Selecting the Christmas tree is always a family event. Most families have a favorite type of tree and everyone looks for a healthy, filled out tree with a nice shape. But what else beyond that? And which variety is the best value this year?
It varies depending upon the weather, which species where planted by the tree farms years ago, and your region of the country. In Florida, Red Cedar, Virginia Pine, Sand Pine, Spruce Pine and Leyland Cypress are grown specifically for use as Christmas trees. The west coast often sees Monterey pines and Fraser Firs as the popular choices.
Tips on Selecting a Tree
1. Your needs
Determine where in your home you will display your tree. With this in mind, you will be able to tell what height tree you will need and whether all four sides of the tree must be suitable for display.
Height - It is a simple formula:
Item Example Height = room height 8 ft
tree toppers ornaments 1 ft
height added by the tree stand 0.5 ft
height of any base or table that you put under the stand 0
bottom of tree removed 0.5 ft = Equals height of tree to buy at the farm = 7 ft
Shape - Some prefer a slender tree, others want one which is larger and more bulky. It is nothing more than your personal preference!
2. Type / Variety of tree (species)
3. Examine the tree
Freshness is an important key if you are buying a precut (harvested, fresh-cut, etc.) tree. Of course, if you are cutting your own, or having it cut for you, you know it will be fresh!
- The needles should be resilient. Take hold of a branch about six inches from the tip, between your thumb and forefinger, then pull your hand toward you allowing the branch to slip through your fingers.
- The needles should adhere to the branch and not fall off in your hand. The needles should be flexible, not brittle. Run your finger down a branch - the needles should adhere to each twig. Bump the base end of the tree lightly against the ground to verify that the needles are firmly attached and to see if any outside needles fall off (inside needle loss in Pine trees is common every Fall and may lodge against the branches). If only a few drop off, the tree is fresh.
- The tree should have a good fragrance and an attractive good green color,
- fresh tree will retain its moisture content and thereby keep its fragrance and needles, if kept in a stand that has a good water - holding capacity.
- Limbs should be strong enough to hold ornaments and strings of lights