For those who celebrate Christmas, the tree is the centerpiece of the holiday home. It’s the perfect place to gather the family for stories, laughter, and of course, presents. We’ve put together our best tips for selecting and caring for a Christmas tree, so that you can enjoy a festive holiday with the tree that best matches your style.
Types of Christmas Trees
The distinctively scented Fraser Firs are the most popular Christmas tree variety. The branches are angled slightly upward, which makes them perfect for hanging ornaments and lights. These trees also retain their dark green 1/2” to 1” needles well.
Douglas Firs' needles have a beautiful, sweet scent when crushed. The soft, flat, dark blue-green needles radiate out in all directions. Due to its shape and lovely scent, the Douglas Fir variety makes up more than half of the Christmas trees sold in the United States!
Another great option is the Noble Fir. It has sturdy, evenly-spaced branches that are angled slightly upward. It is the premier choice for supporting precious bulbs of weight or size and its long-lasting ability makes it a popular choice for trees, as well as greenery for wreaths and garlands.
The Nordmann Fir has attractive, dark, glossy needles and the best needle retention of all trees. It does not have a fragrance, so it’s a good choice for families with allergies or those who don't enjoy the typical tree aroma.
Potted and Ball and Burlap Trees
Some families have created a Christmas tree corner in their yard and plant their new tree there each year. Others care for the tree through the winter and donate it to a charity or silent auction (it is great for school fundraisers!) in late Winter or early Spring. Choosing a potted tree like Blue Spruce or Alberta Spruce means you’ll be opting for a much smaller tree than you could otherwise have, but if you follow the directions below, you can plant it outdoors in the spring and enjoy it for longer.
Which Type of Tree is Best for You?
When selecting a tree variety, you’ll want to consider a few different features. Think about long versus short needles, fragrance, and needle retention. Do you need strong branches for your grandmother’s ornaments? Anxious to fill your home with the classic scent of Christmas? Are you looking to leave your tree up well past December 25th? Choose a tree that best suits your needs.
Most of the common choices for Christmas trees have short needles. Fraser Firs are aromatic. If you’re most concerned about needle retention, the Noble, Nordmann, Fraser, and Douglas all provide excellent needle retention with proper care. The Noble Fir offers a good blend of attributes and is sturdy enough to hold all of your favorite ornaments.
How to Keep Your Christmas Tree Fresh the Whole Season
Keep the tree stand’s water-well full. Check the water levels frequently; fresh trees can use one gallon of water per day. Never let the water level drop below the tree’s base. You can also purchase a Christmas tree preservative, such as the Prolong Tree Preservative available at Homestead Gardens, to put in the water. As the tree absorbs the water, it will also absorb the preservative, which will help it retain needles.
Choose the right tree stand. When selecting a tree stand, make sure you look at the size of the tree it can accommodate. Check both the height and diameter to ensure it will suit your needs. It’s also a good idea to look for a tree stand that has a large water capacity and allows for easy refilling. If you’d like a recommendation, we suggest Bowling’s Last Stand for your tree.
Place your tree as far as possible from heat vents and other heat sources. The cooler the place your tree is in, the better.
Anchor the tree to the wall if you have pets. Christmas trees full of ornaments can be tempting to jump on, especially for young dogs and cats. Fishing line can be attached to the tree and then tied to hooks in the wall to prevent pets from knocking the tree over.
Pay special attention to potted trees. If you want to plant the tree outside after the holidays are over then you should only bring the tree indoors for a few days. Then, put the tree back outside, but hold off on planting until spring. Like a traditional Christmas tree, when indoors, your potted tree also needs to be watered regularly and kept away from heat vents. You'll need to care for your tree throughout the winter and spring until it’s well-established in the garden.
Christmas trees bring so much joy and life to a home during the holiday season. Make sure you get the best tree for your family. With proper care, you’ll have a wonderful tree that lasts all season!