In the last 150 years, the Christmas tree has become a staple in many homes across the world. Here in Pennsylvania, we have a booming Christmas tree industry. In fact, according to the Pennsylvania Christmas Tree Growers Association, PA ranks third in the nation for the number of Christmas tree farms.
The First Artificial Christmas Trees
In the late 1800’s, Germany’s Christmas trees had been so decimated by the holiday tradition that people began constructing artificial Christmas trees from goose feathers. According to artificialplantsandtrees.com, the first Artificial Christmas trees were manufactured by the Addis Brush Company in America. By the mid-1900’s, the artificial Christmas tree market bloomed with silver aluminum trees, realistic fake pine and spruce trees, and even trees in bright and non-traditional colors, like pink and blue.
Which Type of Tree is Best for Your Family?
There’s a lot to consider when deciding on a real versus artificial Christmas trees. Environmentally speaking, there have been studies that show both real and artificial are better for various reasons. On the one hand, a real tree will decompose and break down much faster than an artificial tree. However, an artificial tree can be reused for many years.
When it comes to pricing, an artificial tree will cost you about 1.5 times the amount of a real tree. But again, this is a one-time purchase whereas if you choose a real tree, you will put out that money every year.
Many people suffer allergies related to real Christmas trees, including pine scent and mold spores. It’s important to note, however, that an artificial tree can also carry mold and dust if not stored properly throughout the year.
An artificial Christmas tree is certainly cleaner than a real tree, which will drop needles and possibly sticky sap while it’s in your home. If you’re not a fan of frequent vacuuming, an artificial tree might be best for you! However, there’s nothing quite like the seasonal smell of pine that comes from a real Christmas tree, and many people don’t mind the clean-up in exchange for that signature scent!
The best way to decide between a real versus artificial Christmas tree is to consider all of these factors when it comes to your family’s wants and needs. If you decide to go with an artificial Christmas tree, check out the this list compiled by Good Housekeeping: 14 of the Best Artificial Christmas Trees that Look Incredibly Realistic.
Types of Real Christmas Trees
Walking onto a tree lot without knowing what kind of real tree is best for your family can feel overwhelming! In Pennsylvania, you’ll find 3 main types of Christmas trees: Pine, Spruce and Fir. But, there are subtle differences within each species variety.
Pine Christmas Trees are Cost Friendly
The needles of Pine Trees can vary from the sharp needles of a Scotch Pine to the softer needles of a White Pine. Overall needle retention is excellent and the tree will look vibrant and healthy through the holiday season. Since Pines are a fast growing variety, the price tag is usually very attractive and you can get a larger tree at a smaller cost.
Spruce Christmas Trees come in a Beautiful Spectrum of Color
The needles of Spruce Trees are much sharper than any other Christmas tree variety. Some homeowners prefer the sharper needles to deter pets and keep kids from playing with the ornaments. You may get more needle drop with a Spruce, but there’s no mistaking the beautiful coloring of this ornamental tree, especially the Blue Spruce. Within the Blue Spruce family alone we find a broad range of blue-greens that are sure to make your ornaments sparkle!
Fir Trees have that distinct Christmas Tree scent
If you want that crisp Christmas tree smell, go with a Fir. This dark green tree has been a popular choice for generations, and its strong branches can easily hold heavier ornaments. The Balsam Fir has the strongest scent; while Douglas and White Firs are a little milder. Firs in general have soft needles, so they’re much easier to set up without cutting your hands. They’re also safer for kids and pets.
Click here for a list of Christmas Tree Farms and Lots all around Philadelphia and Southeastern PA!
No matter which type of Christmas tree you choose, do a quick needle test at the lot to make sure it’s fresh and will last through the holiday season. Pick up the tree by the trunk and tap it down on the ground a few times. A little bit of droppage is ok, but if it’s raining needles move on to the next tree. Do a branch test by gently pulling from the inside of the branch out to see if a lot of needles fall off. You’ll also want to check that the tree is fresh. According to the Pennsylvania Christmas Tree Growers Association website, you should “bend a needle in half with your fingers. Fresh firs should snap, while fresh pines bend and should not break.”
Always practice Christmas tree safety by keeping your tree hydrated and away from heat sources. Use indoor lights and be sure to unplug them when not in use. Click here to watch what happens when fire touches a dry tree versus a well-watered tree!
If you have any questions about how to choose your Christmas Tree, give your Giroud Arborist a call at 215-682-7704!
Have a Safe and Happy Holiday Season!