Finding the Perfect Tree for Christmas

Carl Robinette

Fri December 5, 2014 12:10pm

When it comes to Christmas trees, size does matter but before you bring home your lean, mean evergreen, there are a few other considerations to keep in mind so you get the perfect tree for your holiday season. Your tree will be the centerpiece for your entire holiday, but it can also create a lot of grief. Every year about 40 home fires in the United States are started by or related to a Christmas tree, according the National Fire Protection Association.
“Do not put your tree in west facing window, and don’t put it near the fireplace and don’t put it near a heater vent,” said Mike Osborne, owner of the Pinery in Bonita. “All of those things will dry a tree out much quicker.”
Keeping the tree hydrated not only keeps your house from burning down it keeps the tree looking good. It’s also a good idea to keep the tree away from dogs who have a habit of marking territory.
Choose the spot in your home for the tree first, then start thinking about the size and the type of tree you want. But remember, just because you have high ceilings does not mean you have to have the biggest tree you can find. More tree means more mess, more decorations and more water.
The three types of trees from which you will likely be choosing are Noble fir, Douglass fir and Grand fir, said Osborne.
Noble firs are the most popular. With more spacing between its sturdy branches than other trees, the Noble fir is best suited to hanging a lot of ornaments. Nobles tend to retain water better and for that reason they tend be lower maintenance than the others as well.
The Douglas firs are another great choice for a more traditional look. These firs offer fuller appearance with classic cone shape and slightly stronger fragrance than the Noble. With finer needles and branches, heavier ornaments might cause the branches to sag, and it lends itself to a more natural or earthy decorative taste. Douglas firs also tend to be the least expensive due to its rapid growth cycle.
The Grand firs are the most fragrant and can really help create a real Christmas ambiance with that natural pine smell and thick, full appearance. The Grand firs are also unique in that the needles are lighter colored on top than they are on bottom, giving them a nice two-tone look.
“There are lots and lots of trees planted just for this purpose, so people think they’re hurting the environment when they’re not,” said Osborne. What they’re doing is they’re rejuvenating new crops, and help create more oxygen in the atmosphere.”
But if fresh trees are not really an option, synthetic trees are can save you money in the long run and do not require water. While some look more natural than others, the better they look the more expensive they tend to be.
While many people purchase synthetic trees with the best intentions of being environmentally friendly, fake trees actually create a bigger environmental footprint than real trees, said Osborne.
“What you don’t want to do is go out and get a fake tree, because fake trees are made out of plastic and they don’t recycle,” said Osborne.  “They do clog up landfills because they’re not biodegradable.  People wonder if they buy a fresh tree are they killing the forest.  Well that’s not the case.  What they are doing is helping a farmer grow a crop, and helping a farmer sell the crop.  So it’s all good for everybody.”
For properties owners with space to plant, live trees are great way to create a lasting memory. You can keep them potted in the house for the season and then plant them and watch them grow year after year when the season is over. However there is no advantage to purchasing a live tree without the space or ability to plant.
For those who dream of a white Christmas, the frosted trees offer that snowy look and the frosting is actually a fire retardant so they serve a valuable safety function as well.