How to Select a Christmas Tree

— Written By and last updated by Elisabeth Purser
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Christmas Tree SelectionNot only does Union County send turkeys to the White House to be pardoned, this year the national Christmas tree that will grace the grounds of the National Capital also came from North Carolina from the Pisgah National Forest in the western part of the state. This year’s tree is a red spruce that has been named Ruby. The tree was harvested on November 2 and has made several stops on its journey before arriving in Washington DC on November 18. To learn more about Ruby just do an internet search using the words US Forest Service National Christmas Tree.

Ever since the first Christmas tree retail lot was set up on the streets of New York City in 1851, Americans have been enjoying the tradition of a live tree to celebrate the holiday season. North Carolina ranks second in the nation in  number of trees harvested and cash receipts producing over 20% of the real Christmas trees in the US. We have approximately 1300 growers producing Frazer Fir in the western part of the state on an estimated 40,000 acres.

For many families taking a trip to select and cut a Christmas tree is an annual tradition. Fraser fir is one of the best species in terms of needle retention and fragrance. Others that can be used are Eastern White pine and Scotch Pine. You need to properly assess the size of tree needed. It is best to consider where in the house the tree will be placed. Most standard rooms will easily accommodate a 7-foot tree; however, some rooms with cathedral ceilings can accommodate a much larger tree. Just expect to pay a premium for oversized trees.

If you may be purchasing a tree that has already been cut from a tree lot, it is important to check that the tree is fresh. In general, each tree should have a healthy, green appearance without a large number of dead or browning needles. Needles should appear fresh and flexible and should not come off in your hand if you gently stroke a branch. A useful trick is to lift a cut tree a couple of inches off the ground and let it drop on the cut butt. Green needles should not drop off the tree. A few dried, inner needles may fall, but certainly the outer, green needles should not be affected.

With the proper selection and care, you can enjoy a fresh tree throughout the holiday season.