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What kind of trees are Christmas trees?

If you’re someone who puts up a real Christmas tree during the holiday season, you may have thought to yourself, “what kind of evergreen is a Christmas tree?” While there isn’t a singular specific variety of evergreen tree that can be called the sole variety of Christmas tree, there are a few varieties that are commonly grown to become Christmas trees. Fraser firs, Scots pine, Douglas fir, Blue spruce, Black hills spruce, White pine, Balsam fir and Concolor fir.


A Balsam fir Christmas tree at Whispering Hills

According to Michigan State University Extension, these are the most common evergreen trees that are used as Christmas trees during the holiday season:

Fraser fir

“Fraser fir continues to increase in popularity for good reason. Fraser fir has blue-green needles with silvery undersides. The branches are stiff and hold up well to ornaments. The trees have a pleasant scent and needle retention is excellent.”

Scots pine

“Scots pine is the tree species that has long defined the Michigan Christmas tree and is still a favorite for traditionalists. Scots pines are dense trees with dark-green needles. Stiff branches hold up well to ornaments and needle retention is excellent. Scots pine is also an economical choice.”

Douglas fir

“Douglas fir is a dense tree with soft, light green needles. You’ll need to stick with lighter-weight ornaments since the branches are not as stiff as some other species. Another good choice for budget-conscious consumers.”

Blue spruce

“Blue spruce remains a popular Christmas tree because of its bright blue color. Branches are stiff and hold ornaments well. Blue spruce needles are quite sharp, so be sure to wear gloves and long-sleeves when handling. While the needles may make the tree hard to handle, some people choose blue spruce to keep pets away from the tree.”

Black hills spruce

“Black hills spruce have needles that are shorter and softer than Colorado blue spruce. Black hills spruce have excellent color and have a very traditional Christmas tree appearance. Branches are stiff and hold up well to ornaments.”

White pine

“White pine is one of two Michigan native conifers commonly used for Christmas trees, along with balsam fir. This is a dense tree with soft, green needles. This tree will require light-weight ornaments. For consumers that have a high ceiling and want a larger tree, white pine can be an economical choice.”

Balsam fir

“Balsam fir has long been a preferred species for many consumers because of its strong Christmas tree scent. It has dark green needles and excellent form.”

Concolor fir

“Concolor fir have longer needles that may be as blue as a blue spruce. The big draw for this species, however, is the strong, citrus-like scent of its needles.”

According to Michigan State University Extension, there are also evergreen tree varieties that are currently being developed by horticulturalists and growers to meet new demand, like:

Canaan fir

“Canaan fir does combine many of the characteristics of balsam fir with better needle retention of Fraser fir. It is sometimes described as a hybrid between balsam fir and Fraser fir, but is actually a specific seed source from balsam fir from the Canaan Valley of West Virginia.”

Whether you are looking for the perfect Christmas tree, or trying to find a standout evergreen for your yard, there’s an evergreen for every need. At Whispering Hills Garden and Landscape Center, we cary McHenry County’s widest selection of evergreen trees and shrubs. If you need privacy screening, windscreens, centerpiece trees or evergreen hedges, our expert staff can help you find exactly the tree that will work best for you.

Whispering Hills Garden and Landscape Center is a full service landscape center and nursery located in Cary, Illinois. Stop in today to schedule a Spring 2022 cleanup. (Updated: 12/23/21)

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