Types of Christmas Trees & How to Choose the Best One

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If picking out a fresh Christmas tree is an annual tradition for your family, make sure you get the right tree! They may all look similar at first glance, but some are better suited for different reasons. Here are some of the best types of Christmas trees and how to choose the best tree for your family.

Pin image for how to choose the best Christmas tree for your family.

What makes the best Christmas tree? After selling fresh-cut Christmas trees for many years, I can attest to the old adage that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

in truth, Your best kind of Christmas tree may look quite different from someone else’s Christmas tree, Size, shape, branch density, needle length, color, and scent are some personal preferences that will play a role in the final decision.

For many of us, there is a specific tree species that just smells “like Christmas” because that is the type of tree we grew up with.

But if you are looking for name of your favorite tree Or want to experiment this year, here are some of the best types of Christmas trees to consider.

In this article, we will cover:

Children choosing the best types of Christmas trees
Visiting a Christmas tree farm and cutting down a tree yourself is a must-try experience.

How to Choose the Best Type of Christmas Tree

Each tree species has certain characteristics that make it popular. Whether it’s the toughness of the branch tips, how well it retains its needles, or an attractive aroma, each variety has something special to offer.

within the same species, Pruning affects overall size and branch density: Natural growth is more open, branches become dense due to frequent shearing.

When looking at the different types of Christmas trees, there are a few things you can keep in mind:

  1. Fresh trees should not lose many needles. You can test this by tapping the tree on the ground and seeing how many needles fall off. Alternatively, you can drag a branch. Only a few needles should be loose.
  2. Disease or decay. The tree should not have any foul smell or any kind of stain. This may indicate that the tree was cut down during the disease or was cut down long ago.
  3. height and width. Measure your Christmas tree to make sure it will fit inside your home. Bring a measuring tape along, and also be sure to measure before heading to the Christmas tree site.
Closeup of pine needles for types of Christmas trees
Test needle handling before purchasing a Christmas tree.

Different Types of Christmas Trees

There are many different types of trees that are commonly sold as Christmas trees.

Although I don’t have photos of them all, I highly recommend you Bring a plant identification app with you if the trees aren’t labeled. I’ve listed my favorite and most reliable apps here to help you identify what type of Christmas trees you’re dealing with.

Keep an eye out for these names when you go out shopping. Here are some of the best types of Christmas trees and what you need to know about each.

1. Fraser Fir

It is the most popular fresh Christmas tree in North America. They extremely courageous, and Canadian tree farmers ship them all over the world. Its needles are ½ to 1 inch long, dark green above and blue-green below. Needle retention is excellentAnd the scent is pleasantly sweet and slightly spicy.

fraser fir identifier,

  • slimmer shape
  • slightly twisted branches
  • small needles ½ to 1 inch long
  • Dark green needles with blue-green bottom
Foam ring with small Fraser fir clippings inserted
You can see the Fraser fir branches used in this project, where I made a candle garland as a holiday centerpiece.

2. Noble Fir

The noble fir, with its hard branches, is a Great option for heavy jewelery, Its branches grow in circles around the stem, giving it a “tiered” effect. The upturned needles show both a medium-green surface color and a blue-green underside.

Noble Fir Identifier:

  • Blue-green needles with white stripes on the edge
  • light brown to purple bark
  • large straight pine cone
  • hard branches

3. Douglas Fir

Don’t let the name fool you! Douglas fir is actually a type of cedar tree. Douglas fir is grown and shipped throughout North America. 1-1.5 inches long dark green soft needles extend in all directions from the stem, giving it a full appearance. Needle retention is lower than other trees, but it is also generally a less expensive tree.

Douglas fir identifier:

  • Classic Christmas Tree Scent
  • heavy branches
  • Dark green needles pointing in all directions
  • Softer needles than spruce
  • pointed, papery, reddish-brown buds
Kiddo standing next to a Douglas fir for Christmas tree types at the Christmas Tree Farm
Kiddo poses with a Douglas fir, which will take a few more years to become a Christmas tree.

4. Balsam Fir

The needles are dark green, ¾ to 1.5 inches long, and long lasting. These are easy to decorate but do not hold heavy jewelery well. The aroma of crushed needles is very pleasant, lasting throughout the holiday season. As the top Christmas tree in Quebec and the official tree of New Brunswick, it is one of the most popular choices in Canada.

Balsam Fir Identifier:

  • Needs to be flat with white band at the bottom
  • dark green needles
  • narrow and pointed crown
  • thin brown, smooth bark with resinous blisters

5. Grand Fir

This type of tree is dark green with flat needles. Its soft to touch Compared to other trees, it is therefore pleasant to decorate!

Grand Fir Identifier:

  • citrus scent
  • light branches
  • Bright green color and curved branches
  • round headed flat requirements
  • Smooth bark with resin blisters and white spots

6. Nordmann Fir

near nordman fir long needles Compared to Noble or Fraser fir, this gives it a softer appearance. The needles are dark, glossy green and have needle retention similar to both Noble and Fraser firs.

Nordmann Fir Identifier:

  • soft, shiny green needles with blunt tips
  • needles around the branch
  • slightly longer needles
  • lack of a significant smell
Nordmann Fir sign for types of Christmas trees at the Christmas Tree Farm
Nordmann fir has very good needle grip.

7. Colorado Blue Spruce

This popular option is a great alternative to a living Christmas tree. apart from unique blue-green or gray-green leavesWhen young it has a good shape and its branches are dense.

Colorado Blue Spruce Identifier:

  • blue-grey tinted needles with sharp points
  • Dense leaves and pyramid-shape
  • branches are horizontal to the ground
  • What smells bad when you crush needles

8. Scotch Pine

Scotch pine is the most commonly planted fresh Christmas tree variety. Its needles are 1-3 inches long and medium green in color, suitable for holding ornamentals. nIdle retention is excellent, even as it dries.

Scotch Pine Identifier:

  • medium-green needles
  • Long Needles (1-3 inches)
  • orange peel when ripe
  • oval crown
Closeup of Scotch pine cones and needles
I love finding pine cones on my trees, but I also keep an eye out for unwanted Christmas trees.

9. Eastern White Pine

This tree has some of the longest needles on this list, giving it a soft appearance. Needle retention is good. It is a good choice because of its mild aroma For anyone sensitive to heavy fragrances,

Eastern White Pine Identifier:

  • long blue-green needles
  • soft looking
  • the needles are bent at their ends
  • Smooth bark that is dark green when young, and dark brown to black as it matures.

live christmas tree

Potted trees have become very popular because after serving their decorative purpose indoors, they can also be planted in the landscape. Choose the type that fits the style of your garden.

I especially like the lemon cypress trees, which I use to make my mini Grinch trees.

Small potted Christmas trees at the garden center
The best thing about living Christmas trees? You have to keep it!

Frequently Asked Questions About Christmas Trees

What type of Christmas tree is most popular?

The most popular type of Christmas trees are pine trees because their needles tend to shed less when they dry, while still maintaining the scent and color. Although it depends on where you live, Fraser fir and balsam fir are the most popular types of Christmas trees. Fraser fir is known for its longevity, while balsam fir is known for its classic Christmas tree scent and low price.

What type of tree is a Christmas tree?

Almost any evergreen tree can serve as a Christmas tree. The Christmas tree tradition came from the Pagans as they would bring twigs of evergreen plants indoors during the winter solstice to remind them of the green plants that would return in the spring. The first Christmas tree appeared in Germany in the 16th century, when Martin Luther brought a fir tree to his home for decoration.

Identifying Pine Needles

What is the best smelling Christmas tree?

One of the best features of buying a real Christmas tree instead of a fake is its scent. Balsam firs will give you the most fragrance, but they dry out more quickly than other trees. If this is a concern for you, Douglas fir or Fraser fir also have a scent and last longer.

Which Christmas tree lasts the longest?

Fraser fir will last you the longest, about 5 weeks. If you prefer to buy your tree early, it should be looking good by Christmas time. Douglas will still last quite a while, up to 4 weeks. Scotch pine also lasts for 3 weeks.

Yes, some varieties perform better than others, but there’s more to it. When it comes to a long-lasting Christmas tree, results will mostly come from proper care. Learn more about Christmas tree care tips here!

wooden piece christmas ornament

What are the main differences between Douglas Fir vs Fraser Fir?

Both Douglas fir and Fraser fir can last a long time in the home and are some of the best Christmas trees. Fraser firs are thin and work well in smaller rooms because their branches curve slightly upward. Douglas fir will appear a little bushier and wider.

Because of their soft needles, both trees can withstand the heat of living indoors. Fraser fir’s needles are slightly shorter, measuring ½ to 1 inch long, while Douglas fir’s needles are 1-1.5 inches long. They have a uniform dark green color, although Douglas fir has poor needle retention. Their low price point reflects this.

What are the main differences between Grand Fir vs Douglas Fir?

Grand fir is one of the most fragrant Christmas trees, producing a citrus-like aroma. Douglas firs are still fragrant but bring the more classic Christmas tree scent you are probably familiar with. Both trees have the classic cone shape, although the Grand Firs are slightly fuller.

Grand cedar branches are lighter and Douglas fir branches will hold heavier ornaments better. The needles of Douglas fir are dark green, spreading in all directions. The gorgeous cedar needles come in a bright green color with a slight curve to the branches.

Douglas firs are more common due to their popularity, so you may have more difficulty finding grand firs. Douglas Fir will last for about 4 weeks while Grand Fir is only good for about 2 weeks before it begins to drop its needles.

stephanie and kiddo

The most important thing to keep in mind when shopping for the best type of Christmas tree is All natural trees have slight physical imperfections. Some also contain bird nests or praying mantis egg sacks. Let these things serve as a reminder not to take decorating too seriously or skimp on small details. Let the tree’s natural beauty take center stage in your holiday decorations.

More Christmas Tree Inspiration

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