Fir Trade: A Buyer’s Guide to Holiday Trees
Say goodbye to sad Charlie Brown Christmas trees and hello to the perfect fir for your decorating style.
How do you like your Christmas tree? So many varieties of pine and fir grow in the West that it’s not hard to find a freshly cut tree that’s perfect for you and your space. Maybe you like the aptly named Noble Fir, with its short needles and classic shape. Or maybe you’d like to fill your home with the sentimental scent of a Grand Fir, which carries with it a strong fragrance of pine. If you live in a drier area, you might find dense Afghan Pines around; they make good Christmas trees, too, especially if you’re decorating primarily with lights. Whatever type of tree you choose, we wish you a happy, piney holiday.
All-Around Best Buy: Douglas Fir
This is the most-sold holiday tree in the Northwest. Its soft, inch-long needles are deep forest green and cover the branches and twigs on all sides. It grows in nearly every Western state.
The Perfect Shape: Noble Fir
For many, a noble fir is the ideal holiday tree. Its blue-green needles have a nice fragrance and stay fresh longer after cutting. Nearly all noble firs are sheared.
For Lots of Ornaments: Red Fir
Similar to noble fir, but with silvery needles, this species is rarely sheared. Its naturally well-formed, layered look gives ornaments more exposure than denser trees.
A California Classic: Monterey Pine
Popular in its home state of California, Monterey pines have finger-length needles that give the tree a soft, billowy look, while twice-yearly shearings supply its festive shape.
Wonderful Fragrance: Grand Fir
This tree’s balsam scent is most potent when you brush against its deep green needles. Refill its water daily. If you prefer a mandarin orange scent, try a soft-needled white fir.
Made for Desert Dwellers: Afghan Pine
Also known as the Mondell pine and Goldwater pine, this tree grows beautifully under very tough conditions. Growers shear it enough to give it great shape. The needles are soft and about 6 inches long.
Consider a Living Tree: Potted Norfolk Island Pine
A living Norfolk Island pine makes a lovely houseplant after the festivities are over. These tropical conifers can handle balmy indoor temperatures. They’re too delicate to load down with ornaments, but they will sparkle merrily festooned with fairy lights.