How to find the perfect Christmas tree: scent, branch strength, needle retention and more
CLEVELAND, Ohio – Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas treeâ¦ how hard it is to make a decision.
Maybe you are looking for branches strong enough to hold heavy heirloom ornaments. Or maybe you have young children and want to make sure the needles are soft to the touch and stay on the shaft. For some, a tree with enough scent to fill the room with holiday cheer is the most important aspect.
Whatever your priority, check out the guide below to help you choose between Fir, Pine, and Spruce, the three most popular Christmas tree varieties in Northeast Ohio.
Fir trees have stiff branches that can withstand heavy ornaments, short, flat needles that are soft to the touch, good needle retention, and a strong fragrance.
the Balsam fir tends to be the most fragrant, one of the reasons it’s among the most popular Christmas tree choices. If you choose one, be sure to check the water often, as they tend to dry out quickly.
With many of the same characteristics as the balsam fir, the Douglas fir branches, while still strong, are not as strong as other fir options.
Fraser trees have branches that point upwards – which gives it a more compact appearance than other varieties of fir – and have the best needle retention and a strong fragrance.
Andy Kall, co-owner of Kall Christmas Tree Farm in Medina, said it was their best seller, adding that it was “the best package of everything most people are looking for.”
For a tree with a softer scent, consider the Canaan fir, another popular option in Northeast Ohio. It can have excellent needle retention, provided this thirsty tree is watered often.
Pines have a very complete profile and needles that grow in bunches rather than singly. Even though pines don’t have branches as strong as firs and spruces, the extra-long needles make them appear fuller.
A Scots pine the tree has strong branches, a light aroma, a bright green color, sharp needles, and some of the best needle retention of pine varieties.
On the other hand, white pines have soft needles and flexible branches. But like Scots pine, the scent is light and needle retention is excellent. Kall says the sweet needles on this tree make it one of the best varieties for families with young children.
Spruce trees have strong branches capable of holding a lot of decorations and look like the traditional shape of a Christmas tree. They have moderate needle retention and a subtle scent, which can be unpleasant at times. But Kall warns, the needles are sharp!
Both blue spruce trees and Norway spruce have all of these traditional characteristics of spruce. Those looking for a more non-traditional Christmas tree color might appreciate the silvery blue needles of the blue spruce. New York’s Rockefeller Center is home to Norway spruce.
Although white spruce trees have one of the best needle retention among spruce trees, still only moderate compared to other tree varieties. The branches, where pine cones sometimes hide, are strong and able to handle decorations.
Once you’ve picked the perfect tree, the next step is to bring it home and make sure it stays beautiful all season long.
âThe key is, honestly, to make sure your tree has a fresh cut and is kept watered,â Kall said. “You don’t want the tree to produce enough sap to seal the trunk where the cut is, making the tree unable to suck up water.”