Scotch or “Scots” pine is the most popular Christmas tree species in the United States. It is known for its dark green needles and stiff branches which are well suited for decorating with both light and heavy ornaments.
Scotch pines have excellent needle retention and hold up well with proper care.
Eastern White Pine
The white pine has long soft, flexible needles. They are bluish-green to silver green in color. White pines have very little aroma which makes them an excellent choice for homes that have family members with allergies.
White pines have excellent needle retention and hold up well with proper care.
Douglas Fir (PRE-CUT)
Douglas Firs are one of the most popular Christmas trees in the United States. They are known for their fragrance.
They have blue to dark green short needles with sturdy branches to hold heavy ornaments.
Concolor Fir (PRE-CUT)
Needles are small and narrow and occur in rows. The needles of the upper branches tend to be thicker and more curved than the lower branches. The length of the needles vary between 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches long. As a Christmas tree the Concolor has good foliage color, a natural “Christmas tree shape” and are a fragrant tree.
Concolor Firs have excellent needle retention and hold up well with proper care.
Fraser Fir (PRE-CUT)
Leaves (needles) are flattened, dark-green with a medial groove on the upper side and two broad silvery-white bands on the lower surface. These bands consist of several rows of stomata (pores). Leaves are 1/2 to one inch long, have a broad circular base, and are usually dark green on the upper surface and lighter on the lower surface. On lower branches, leaves are two-ranked (occurring in two opposite rows). On upper twigs, leaves tend to curl upward forming a more “U-shaped” appearance.
The combination of form, needle retention, dark blue-green color, pleasant scent and excellent shipping characteristics has led to Fraser fir being a most popular Christmas tree species.
Needles are 4-sided (rectangular in section), 1/2-1 inch long, and sharp or somewhat blunt at the tip. At the base of each needle is a twig-like projection (sterigmata) which remains after the needle is lost. Although sometimes confused with true firs (Abies), spruces in general have 1) rectangular rather than flat needles, and 2) cones which hang down rather than stand erect on the stem.
For Christmas trees, overall color of Norway spruce is fair to excellent, but needle retention is considered poor unless the trees are cut fresh and kept properly watered.
Black Hills Spruce
Leaves (needles) are needle-shaped, and are often somewhat crowded on the upper half of the branchlets. Needles are usually 1/2 to 3/4 inch long, blunt at the tip and green to bluish-green in color. Typically, needles are 4 angled (4-sided) and are present on short twig-like structures on the stem (sterigmata).
As a Christmas tree, white spruce has excellent foliage color, short stiff needles and a good natural shape.
Image and information source: National Christmas Tree Association