Christ­mas tree va­ri­eties and care

The Observer (Sarnia) - - HOMES -

An ev­er­green tree decked out in lights and or­na­ments is one of the uni­ver­sal sym­bols of the hol­i­day sea­son. The Christ­mas tree tra­di­tion is be­lieved to have orig­i­nated in Ger­many in the 15th or 16th cen­turies, when trees were dec­o­rated with ed­i­bles, such as nuts and fruits. They were later dec­o­rated with can­dles and even­tu­ally lights.

Through the cen­turies, peo­ple have trekked to forests, Christ­mas tree farms and com­mer­cial lots to pick the per­fect trees for their hol­i­day dis­plays. The Na­tional Christ­mas Tree As­so­ci­a­tion says more than 33 mil­lion real trees are pur­chased each year, mak­ing the tree busi­ness a bil­lion-dol­lar in­dus­try. While there are scores of ev­er­green va­ri­eties, cer­tain tree types are more pop­u­lar than oth­ers and thus more avail­able for pur­chase. The fol­low­ing are some of the more pop­u­lar trees come Christ­mas­time.

• East­ern Red cedar:

Branches of the tree are com­pact and form a pyra­mid-shaped crown. The trees should be a dark, shiny green color. The east­ern red cedar is not a true cedar tree, but a mem­ber of the ju­niper fam­ily. This tree can make a great cut tree with a home­spun look and a pungent fra­grance. • Ley­land Cy­press:

This cy­press is one of the more pop­u­lar Christ­mas trees in the south­east­ern United States. The tree will be very dark green to al­most gray in color. It has lit­tle aroma. Some peo­ple choose the Ley­land be­cause it does not pro­duce sap, which is great for those with sap al­ler­gies. • Colorado Blue Spruce:

An at­trac­tive blue-green fo­liage and a good sym­met­ri­cal form is what at­tracts many peo­ple to the blue spruce. The Colorado Blue Spruce has an ex­cel­lent nat­u­ral shape and re­quires lit­tle prun­ing to look like the per­fect Christ­mas tree. It’s not very fra­grant, but the tree nee­dles may give off an un­pleas­ant odor when crushed.

• Scotch Pine:

A clas­sic con­i­cal shape and very good nee­dle re­ten­tion help make the Scotch pine a pop­u­lar tree to cut for the hol­i­days. Scotch pines also are quite preva­lent thanks to the tree’s adapt­abil­ity to a wide range of cli­mates. • East­ern White Pine:

A del­i­cate green color and long nee­dles are found on this tree. An­other pop­u­lar pine, the rich fra­grance of the white pine may make it prefer­able to those who like their homes to smell of ev­er­green.

• Dou­glas Fir: The Dou­glas fir is one of the fore­most Christ­mas tree species in the United States. It has soft nee­dles that are dark green in color. Those nee­dles ra­di­ate in all di­rec­tions from the branches to give the tree a full look. The nee­dles, when crushed, have a sweet fra­grance. Dou­glas firs tend to live long when cut.

• Fraser Fir: An­other pop­u­lar fir for Christ­mas is the Fraser fir. The nee­dles are bi­col­ored, with dark green on top and sil­ver on the bot­tom. More fra­grant than its cousin, the Dou­glas, the Fraser also boasts a slen­der pro­file, which makes it suit­able for smaller rooms.

Christ­mas tree main­te­nance

Noth­ing can guar­an­tee the health and ap­pear­ance of a tree af­ter it is brought into a home. But choos­ing a re­cently cut tree that has good nee­dle re­ten­tion can help. Here are other tips for a long-last­ing tree.

• Use a sharp saw to cut an inch off of the trunk base to re­move the sappy cover­ing that forms from cut­ting. This will im­prove wa­ter in­take.

• Fill a tree stand reser­voir with warm wa­ter. Ex­pect the tree to drink heav­ily in the begin­ning.

• Keep the reser­voir filled ev­ery day and check to see how much wa­ter the tree is us­ing.

• Place the tree far from heaters or other dry­ing sources.

METRO CRE­ATIVE GRAPH­ICS PHOTO

The Christ­mas tree tra­di­tion is be­lieved to have orig­i­nated in Ger­many in the 15th or 16th cen­turies, when trees were dec­o­rated with ed­i­bles, such as nuts and fruits. They were later dec­o­rated with can­dles and even­tu­ally lights.

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