Most people have a favorite Christmas tree. The scent, the needle type and color all bring back memories of Christmas’ past. It’s easy to find your perfect tree in the Triangle because nearly a dozen species are grown and sold in Eastern North Carolina. Many places also sell the Fraser Fir (Abies fraseri), grown in the western part of the state and trucked here during the holidays.
Leyland Cypress (Cupressocyparis leylandii) – A popular Christmas trees in the southeast. Features dark green to gray foliage, upright branches with a feathery appearance and light scent. Good choice for people with allergies.
White Pine (Pinus strobes) – Soft, blue-green needles, 2 – 5 inches long. Very full appearance. The tree retains needles throughout the holiday season. Little fragrance and no pollen to cause allergic reactions.
Scotch Pine (Pinus sylvestris) – Stiff branches with stiff, dark green needles 1 inch long. The needles retain four weeks and stay on even when dry. Its open appearance gives more room for ornaments. Holds its aroma throughout the season.
Virginia Pine (Pinus virginiana) – Dark green needles are 1 ½ – 3 inches long in twisted pairs on strong branches capable of holding heavy ornaments. A strong aromatic pine scent. This is a popular southern Christmas tree.
Carolina Sapphire (Cupressus arizonica) – Steely blue needles and dense, lacy foliage. Has a scent that smells like a cross between lemon and mint.
Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) – Needles are a dark, shiny green and sticky to the touch. The scent may last just 2-3 weeks. The Red Cedar is the tree many families had when growing up. Popular southern Christmas tree.
Blue Ice – a beautiful Christmas tree with silvery blue needles. Grown on farms in the Piedmont and Eastern North Carolina.
Norway Spruce (Picea abies) – Needles are 1/2 – 1 inch long and shiny, dark green. The tree has a strong fragrance and conical shape. Buy it in a container or burlap and plant the tree in your landscape after Christmas.
Green Giant (Thuja occidentalis) – Pyramid-shaped evergreen with rich green color and small scale-like leaves on flattened branches. One of the newer types of trees for Christmas.
Christmas Tree Care
Remove 1/4 – 1/2 inch from the bottom of the trunk before placing the tree in the stand. This will allow the tree to take up water. A tree can use up to a quart of water per day for each inch of the stem’s diameter. Keep your tree away from fireplaces, radiators, televisions and other heat sources so it doesn’t prematurely dry out.
Remember, Christmas trees don’t start fires, people do. Make sure you check the lights and connections before decorating. Don’t use worn or frayed cords or overload your electrical outlets. It should go without saying, but never use lighted candles on your tree. Remember to turn off the tree lights before going to bed or when you leave home.
Fact or Fiction?
Myths abound about real Christmas trees, including the #1 myth that these are cut down from forests. While the Forest Service sells some permits for people to harvest wild trees to create firebreaks, it’s a small percentage of all trees used. Most trees come from a farm where someone plants them. The North Carolina Christmas Tree Industry is ranked second in the nation in number of trees harvested.
For a list of more Christmas tree myths and other Christmas tree information, visit the National Christmas Tree Association.
Source: North Carolina Christmas Tree Association, Eastern NC Christmas Tree Growers’ Association, National Christmas Tree Association.