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Christmas Tree Varieties in North America

Christmas Tree Varieties in North America

Christmas Tree hunting is a fun family tradition that I enjoy carrying on year to year.  There are many good reasons to choose a real Christmas Tree.  Real trees are biodegradable and can be re-used for other purposes, they do not contain dangerous chemicals, and buying a real tree supports a local tree farmer.

Christmas trees are all the same right? NO! In fact, there are many types of Christmas Tree Varieties in North America, and some surpass others in popularity. All of them have different qualities to offer the Christmas Tree buyer and decorator.

These trees were ranked by the National Christmas Tree Association to reflect which varieties were purchased the most.


#1. Fraser Fir  – This fir is dark green in colour and its needles are a half-inch to one inch in length. It grows at elevations above 5,000 feet. It presents a nice scent and ships well, so it does last a while.

#2. Douglas Fir – While it is called the Douglas Fir, it is not actually a fir because the cones on it droop downward. Douglas firs naturally grow into a nice cone-shape, which is what many look for in a Christmas Tree, so it is no wonder it is a favourite. It has needles the same length as the Fraser Fir and smells sweet, especially when the needles are crushed.

#3 – Balsam Fir  – Are you seeing a pattern here? Firs are the best Christmas Trees you can get! This tree grows in a pyramid shape, which is how Christmas Trees are typically drawn. The needles are short and flat, have a nice lingering scent, and last a long time, much like the Fraser Fir. The Balsam fir loves cold.

 #4 – Colorado Blue Spruce – This tree is generally seen in landscapes and is a dark green or even a powdery blue in colour. This Christmas Tree variety is the official living White House Lawn Christmas tree. It is solid and symmetrical in shape.

# 5 – Scotch Pine  – According to the NCTA, this is the most planted Christmas tree in North America. It is not native to the continent, though. It presents stiff dark green needles that measure one to three inches, and they only last for about four weeks. They don’t shed their dry needles, so they are not messy and they smell fantastic even when the needles start to dry.

Other popular varieties include the White Fir, White Spruce, Noble Fir, Eastern Red Cedar, Leyland Cypress, Eastern White Pine, and the Virginia Pine.




Thursday 10th of November 2016

We use to have a real tree for Christmas every year but after the husband got a critical illness we would not any nore. Now we have a fake tree.

Victoria Ess

Friday 12th of December 2014

We haven't bought a real tree in years but I'd like to start again next year. I didn't know about these different varieties!


Thursday 6th of November 2014

There are a lot of tree farms around here. But I don't know what varieties they grow.

Janet W.

Thursday 6th of November 2014

We always have an artificial tree just so we don't have to deal with making sure it has water, and the mess it can create. We did however used to get Fraser Fir when we used to get a real one.


Thursday 6th of November 2014

I am sad that we don't do real trees anymore. I love the smell of fresh pine.