Fresh cut and living trees are the ones you usually find at the garden center. Living trees come with a root ball wrapped in burlap and can be planted outside after Christmas.
The most frequently requested Christmas trees, as reported by growers across the US, are Scotch pine, Douglas fir, White pine and Balsam fir in that order. Historians agree that the first decorated Christmas tree appeared in the U.S. in the mid 1800s.
Scotch Pine – The Scotch pine’s color ranges from bright greens to blue greens. It has stiff, sturdy branches that will support heavy ornaments and excellent retention of the 1- inch needles. It’s pine scent lasts a long time and it will remain fresh throughout the holiday season.
Douglas Fir – The Douglas fir has soft dark blue green needles about 1-1 ½ inch long. The fir needles are soft to the touch and radiate in all directions from the branch. When crushed, the needles have a sweet fragrance. The branches are spreading to drooping and the bark is very thick, fluted, ridged, rough and dark brown.
White Pine – The White pine, or eastern white pine, can grow to 80 feet or more at maturity with a two to three-foot diameter. The needles are soft, flexible, bluish-green to silver green in color and are regularly arranged in bundles of five. Needles are 2 ½-5 inches long. Bark on the young trunks and branches is smooth and greenish-brown in color.
Balsam Fir – The Balsam fir is frequently copied in artificial trees because of its branch shapes. Branches may be shorter and curved upward to cover the upper sides of the twig. The needles are 1-1 ½ inches long, have a sweet subtle scent, and are dark green. It has a strong fragrance and good needle retention.
Other good choices are Colorado Blue Spruce and Norway Spruce.
Colorado Blue Spruce – The Colorado Blue spruce is a silvery blue color and has a symmetrical form. The needles are 1-1 ½ in long with excellent needle retention. The Colorado Blue spruce works well in small spaces, will last longer than other varieties, and has a pleasant fragrance.
Norway Spruce – The Norway spruce has dark green needles and drooping branches. It has a triangular shape and needles are ½-1 inch long. Will last through the season if kept well-watered, but needle retention is only fair.