Artificial trees? Get real. Browse our favorite Christmas tree varieties.
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Fraser Firs and 12 More Popular Real Christmas Trees
Cutting a fresh tree or picking the perfect Christmas tree from your local lot is a cherished tradition for many families. According to the National Christmas Tree Association, nearly 30 million real Christmas trees are sold each year. Trees vary in color, scent and shape. And some — such as the Fraser fir, pictured — are better for supporting heavy ornaments than other tree types. See our list of popular types of Christmas trees for the features that make them shine brightest. And remember, real Christmas trees are completely biodegradable and can be recycled into high-quality mulch. Note: While our list includes popular Christmas trees, availability can be limited by growing conditions and the costs of transporting trees for sale to areas where they are not grown.
Fraser firs, which are native to southern Appalachia, have dark, blue-green needles with silver undersides. The needles tend to turn upward, making the whole tree appear compact. The branches are sturdy and hold up well when decorated with heavy ornaments.
"The Fraser firs are the Cadillacs of Christmas trees," says Bluebird Christmas Tree Farm owner Leo Collins. Fraser firs are loved for their pleasant scent and are a solid choice for a Christmas tree as they hold their needles long after the holidays have passed.
A popular variety in the Southeast, the Leyland cypress features soft, vibrant green branches. They have a great pyramid shape and hold their needles long after the holidays have passed. Those sensitive to the fragrance of Christmas trees will rejoice: the Leyland cypress does not produce a strong aroma. The soft, flat branches make the tree easy to handle; however, avoid hanging heavy ornaments at the tips.
"Tree choices really come down to the individual's preferences," says Tim O'Connor, executive director for the National Christmas Tree Association. "There isn’t one that is better than the other. Some tree characteristics do make them better for a particular use, such as, if one has a lot of heavy ornaments, a tree with strong branches is better suited than one that has very flexible ones."
Looking for a blue Christmas? The Colorado blue spruce has branches full of stunning silvery-blue needles and forms a perfect pyramid shape. The branches hold ornaments well, but the needles are sharp, so gloves and long sleeves are recommended when putting the tree in your stand. Colorado blue spruce is a popular choice for Christmas trees or ornamentals, particularly in the eastern US.
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Photo: Image courtesy of The National Christmas Tree Association
Balsam Fir: A Favorite Fragrance
Found in the Northeast, the balsam fir has a cone shape with short but dense branches, dark green needles and a pleasing aroma.