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Christmas Tree Glossary

The Martha Stewart Show

Having a difficult time choosing what type of Christmas tree to get this year? Use this glossary to help you make your decision easier.

Fraser Fir
- It's a little blue in color, but the Fraser fir makes a great Christmas tree for its form, needle retention, pleasant scent and excellent shipping characteristics.
- Strong branches are turned slightly upward, which gives the tree a compact appearance.
- Bark is usually gray or gray-brown, thin and smooth.
- North Carolina produces the majority of Fraser fir Christmas trees.
- Fraser fir was named for John Fraser (1750-1811), a Scottish botanist who explored the southern Appalachian Mountains in the late 18th century.

Blue Spruce
- Colorado blue spruce, or blue spruce, is an attractive tree often used for Christmas trees or as ornamentals, particularly in the eastern United States and Europe.
- Blue spruce is finding increasing popularity as a Christmas tree as a result of its symmetrical form and attractive blue foliage. The species has an excellent natural shape and requires little shearing.
- Needle retention is among the best for the spruces. Its popularity as an ornament leads many consumers to use blue spruce as a living Christmas tree, to be planted after the holiday season.
- It is the official state tree of both Colorado and Utah.
- The species generally reaches a height of 65 to 115 feet at maturity with a diameter of 2 to 3 feet. It has a narrow, pyramid shape and cone-shaped crown. As trees become older, they often take on a more irregular appearance. Although blue spruce grows relatively slowly, it may reach ages of 600 to 800 years.
- Needles are 1 to 1 1/2 inches long on lower branches but somewhat shorter on upper branches. They are four-sided and have a very sharp point on the end.
- Needles are generally dull bluish-gray to silvery blue and emit a resinous odor when crushed. Some trees have a more distinct bluish-white or silvery-white foliage.

Balsam Fir
- As a Christmas tree, balsam fir has several desirable properties. It has a dark-green appearance, long-lasting needles, and attractive form.
- It also retains its pleasing fragrance.
- The scientific name "balsamea" is an ancient word for the balsam tree, so named because of the many resinous blisters found in the bark.
- Two silvery bands of stomata (pores) are found on the lower surface of the needles.

White Pine
- The white pine is a five-needle pine, meaning if you pull one of the fascicle bundles off, you can count five needles.
- White pine has very little aroma, but is reported to result in fewer allergic reactions than do some of the more aromatic species.
- White pine has proven to be one of the most important and most desirable species of North America.
- It's a truly magnificent tree attaining a height of 80 feet or more at maturity with a diameter of two to three feet.
- White pine is the largest pine in the United States. In colonial times, white pines above 24 inches in diameter were reserved for England to be used as ship masts.
- It is the state tree of Maine and Michigan.
- For Christmas trees, sheared trees are preferred, although some people feel shearing results in trees too dense for larger ornaments. Needle retention is good to excellent.

Douglas Fir
- Douglas fir is one of the most popular Christmas trees. It is shipped to the majority of the United States (including Hawaii), and is also exported to Guam and some Asian markets.
- The needles are dark green or blue green, 1 to 1 1/2 inches long, soft to the touch, and radiate out in all directions from the branch. They have a sweet fragrance when crushed.

Comments (6)

  • lmdaube 8 Oct, 2008

    PolyGroup bought out BOTO on March 20, 2008. BOTO is the company that manufactured the trees we purchased from Kmart and are unable to get warranty service through Festive Warranty Services. The phone number for PolyGroup's Christmas tree warranty service is 1-800-530-2191. Hope this helps some of you!

  • rallengar 20 Jan, 2008

    i also bought a 7 foot tree at kmart , sent in the warranty and after 3 weeks the lights have failed. I have tried everything. I called the company and got no response and the website is never available. I paid 124.00 for this tree and now it is worthless. Kmart states that they don't handle the warranty on these trees. I would like a tree that works. It is to be gauranteed for 5 years but that is only as good as the company that supports it.

  • lilpaula 8 Jan, 2008

    I bought an artificial Martha Stewart prelit tree on 12/1/07 and the lights in the middle section went out. Also I cannot seem to get into the website to register the warranty, it is, its never available. This is so upsetting, my husband managed to find out the light that was off was the one you cannot replace.

  • jugs 24 Nov, 2007

    i sell trees for a living and the absolute best tree is the fraiser fir. it lasts forwever and hold its needles best!.hint: stay away from Cannan Fir...people try to oass them off as fraisers but they dry up super fast1

  • babyc 23 Nov, 2007

    I bought a Blue Ridge Mountain Tree 6 1/2 ft last year and some to the lights went out after about 2 weeks. They seemed to go back on for a few days then a few more went out. I couldnt dig through the decorations to fix anything the recording said. I figured it was the fuse. Well this year I put it up and changed the fuse and it still doesnt work. I am extremely disappointed because I call and call the so called warranty number and no person just recordings. What to do? Carmen

  • jassy 11 Nov, 2007

    I had bought a blue spruce christmas tree from kmart 2 christmases ago. I am upset about it from the start. Little pieces fell off the branches the first time. The second christmas same thing. I wont use it this year but will wait for a clearance on another tree. Everything I have for my tree is martha stewart except my tree this year. Sad in Ohio cause I cant afford a tree this year from you line.