10 Different Types of Christmas Trees

1. Balsam Fir

Balsam Fir tree iStock

The variety and popularity of Christmas trees varies geographically. There are about 16 species of Christmas trees around the United States.

The classic tree (and the least expensive) in the Northeast is a balsam fir. It has a deep green color, excellent needle retention, and is one of the most aromatic of all the Christmas trees.

The balsam fir has dark green needles, needles that stay put, and is very fragrant.

Why Pick a Balsam Fir Christmas Tree:

  • Shape: A thin, spire-like top (perfect for a star or an angel) sets this pyramid-shaped tree apart.
  • Needles: Short, long-lasting dark green needles are ¾ inch to 1½ inches long and tend to be flat or blunt at the tip.
  • Scent: Its strong evergreen scent can easily fill a room.
  • Trimmings: Dense limbs can hold weighty ornaments and larger globe or C-bulb lights.

2. Fraser Fir

Fraser fir tree branch.iStock

But the up and comer all along the east coast is the Fraser fir. “It’s sort of a cousin to the balsam fir—very, very attractive needles,” says Roger, referring to the bluish silver underside found on the branches of this species. Frasers also have good needle retention.

A Fraser’s needles are typically 3/4 of an inch long with a shiny dark green top and silvery bottom.

Why Pick a Fraser Fir Christmas Tree:

  • Shape: The branches turn slightly upward, giving it a full, compact appearance.
  • Needles: Short dark green needles have a silvery underside and are ½ to 1 inch long; resists shedding.
  • Scent: Its fresh, mild fragrance is subtler than the balsam’s.
  • Trimmings: Thick branches will hold most decorations; it’s easy to reach interior branches, so cords are less visible.

3. Douglas Fir

Douglas Fir iStock

The more expensive choice for the Northeast—but the popular and budget/local choice in the Northwest—is the Douglas fir. It’s more portly in shape, with a paler green color, and soft needles—which make it child friendly. However, the limbs are a bit dainty and will bend under heavy ornamentation.

Needle color is either dark green or blue green and emit a sweet scent when crushed.

4. Arizona Cypress

Arizon Cypress treeiStock

From North Carolina to Texas, the Arizona cypress is a hit. It has a steel blue color with soft needles and a lemony mint aroma.

This cypress has plenty of smaller needles and its color ranges from pale green to gray green.

5. Virginia Pine

Virginia PineAlamy

But the biggest seller—and low-budget choice—in the South is pine, particularly Virginia pine, with its straight trunk and a classic pine scent. However, Virginia pine, has a lot of pitch, the natural resin that makes the branches and trunk sticky.

The classic pine scent of the Virginia makes it a popular choice inside the house, and they respond well to trimming making them a good choice for landscape.

6. Leyland Cypress

Leyland CypressiStock

If you’re allergic to pitch you might consider the Leyland cypress; which has very little scent or pitch and a deep green color.

Not a naturally occurring tree, this hybrid of Monterey cypress and Alaskan cedar is propagated by rooted cutting only.

7. White Pine

Eastern White PineiStock

In the Mid-Atlantic states, the eastern white pine shows up in most tree lots. It’s a basic, inexpensive pine that grows well at low altitudes.

One of the most popular Christmas trees, and with soft needles could be safer around small children.

Why Pick a White Pine Christmas Tree:

  • Shape: Elegantly conical; needles are grouped in clusters, so you’ll see more trunk.
  • Needles: Long, flexible needles (2½ to 5 inches long) are gentle enough for delicate skin.
  • Scent: Minimal fragrance makes it a good choice for sensitive noses.
  • Trimmings: More of a tinsel-and-lights tree; soft needles can cause ornaments to slip.

8. Scotch Pine

Scotch PineiStock

In the colder parts of the Midwest, the hardy Scotch pine, which grows well near the Canadian border, gets glowing recommendations for its soft, hairlike, striped needles and its ability to stand up well to transportation.

Also called Scotch, this pine had a dark green color and stiff branches that won’t buckle under heavy lighting and ornamentation

Why Pick a Scotch Pine Christmas Tree:

  • Shape: The most popular tree in the U.S., this pine is symmetrical and dense-looking, thanks to full branches.
  • Needles: Bright green needles grow up to 3 inches long; resists shedding, even if you forget to water it.
  • Scent: It has a lasting, pleasant piney aroma.
  • Trimmings: The branches are sturdy, so bring on the heavy decorations.

9. Monterey Pine

Monterey Pine Alamy

Tree lovers in the Southwest usually go for the Monterey pine, which is deep green in color and has medium length needles and a bushy overall appearance.

Is a fast-growing tree that’s adaptable to a broad range of soil types and climates, in a good situation it can reach its full height in 40 years.

10. Blue Spruce

Blue SpruceiStock

In the West, especially around the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado blue spruce is a local favorite. It has a rounded pyramid shape, which gives it a very full appearance. It has fragrant but sharp needles, and a silvery or bluish color.

Blue spruces reach heights of 65 to 115 feet outdoors, but the narrow, pyramidal shape makes it a Christmas tree favorite.

1 comment

  • James Wilson

    Thank you for your suggestion!

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