Which Christmas Tree Should You Buy?


Christmas is one of the most joyous times of the year. The time spent with family, the festive music and traditions, all the fun gifts, and – of course – decorating! These are just some of the things to look forward to this Christmas.

The Christmas tree is the centerpiece of holiday decorating. If you are looking to decorate a “real” Christmas tree for the first time, the number of options might be a bit overwhelming; it’s a lot different than picking an artificial tree! 

What type of Christmas tree is the best? That depends on your personal preferences! Height, needle length, smell, even color are options to consider. We’ve put together a handy guide to help you decide how to how to pick a Christmas tree.

Why choose a real Christmas tree, and where should I buy one?

As you can see, buying freshly cut Christmas trees is a great family tradition to start or continue. There’s nothing like the feel and smell of real Christmas trees to celebrate the holiday.

Don’t just grab any old tree from a grocery store, and we wouldn’t advise cutting one down yourself. For many families, buying real Christmas trees is one of the most memorable parts of the holiday season.

How long do Christmas trees last?

With proper care and watering, your Christmas tree should easily last through the holiday, about 4-5 weeks. If you're looking for a variety that doesn’t drop their needles as quickly, consider a Fraser Fir.

White/Scotch Pines
White/Scotch Pines
Fraser Firs
Fraser Firs
Small Fir
Small trees are beautiful too!

What kinds of trees can make dogs/cats sick?

The holiday wouldn’t be the same without our pets with us. It’s important to keep your pets safe when we bring in any kinds of plants into our home.

A 7-foot tall, woodsy-spelling pine tree can be irresistible for our furry friends. What Christmas trees are poisonous to cats?  According to modern dog magazine, Christmas trees are generally non-toxic for pets. Fir trees are good choices.

If the pets tend to chew on branches or eat pine needles, they might throw up but should not cause them real harm or illness. Your pet may have a bit of tummy trouble but it should pass. Avoid using chemicals in the tree's water source to keep pets safe. Consider covering access to the water in the stand to keep pets from drinking the water.   

Also, be sure to clean up fallen needles so your pets won't walk on them and injure their paws!  Pets get excited when the Christmas tree goes up, so keep an eye on them to make sure they don't eat any tinsel or other decorations.  

What are the color varieties of Christmas trees?

All trees are not colored equal! Each variety has a slightly different shade of green. Fraser Fir,  the most popular Christmas tree in Central Illinois, has a slightly more silver-blue color compared to the Balsam Fir. Balsams have dark-green leaves with a hint of silver, which makes them a great choice for adding some beautiful Christmas colors. White pines have a blue-green color. Canaans have a rich, blue-green color that sets them apart from Fraser Firs or Balsam Fir. 

Love the smell of Christmas trees? Here's what kind to get.

With certain kinds of trees, you won’t need to light a pine-scented candle to get into the holiday spirit. The pine trees that smell the best and are the most fragrant. Which Christmas trees smell the best? Fraser Firs have a wonderful evergreen scent. Balsam Firs also have a prominent evergreen scent to get everyone in the Christmas spirit! If you’re sensitive to the smell of pine, consider a Canaan Fir or White Pine.

A man pets a furry black dog while shopping for a Christmas tree at Designer Landscapes.
Bring your furry friend to help you pick out a Christmas tree!

These trees have the strongest branches.

If you’ve got a lot of heavy ornaments you’ve inherited over the years, consider getting a Fraser Fir or a Scotch Pine. The branches on a scotch pine are sturdier than that of a white pine, so they will hold up better with heavier ornaments.

Fraser Firs are extra sturdy. Canaan Firs also have strong branches.

If you are looking for a softer-looking Christmas tree, we recommend the White Pine. With long, thin needles, the benefit of a White Pine is it looks beautiful even with just a few lightweight ornaments.

What size? How to measure for your Christmas tree.

Before you leave home, make sure you know how tall a tree you need. Our staff can cut it for you to fit the size of your family room. Don’t forget to leave enough room for your star or another topper!

At our Christmas store, we’ll wrap the tree in netting to make it easy to haul and get through your door.

How do we take care of a “fresh cut” tree?

Now that you have picked out what tree you’d like, you just need to know how to take care of it. Christmas trees are like any other cut plant. The biggest thing to remember is that a real Christmas tree needs water!

 When you pick your tree at the Christmas lot, you’ll probably be asked if you want a “fresh cut.” "Fresh cut" means that it was cut within the last two hours and needs water as soon as possible.

If you can get the tree in a stand with water within about 60 minutes, let them cut it for you. If not, you’ll want to wait and cut it yourself.


If you cut it yourself, you just need to cut about 1”-2” off the bottom of the tree. This will allow the tree to absorb the water in the tree stand. Once the tree is up, and you have water in the stand, you just need to make sure the stand doesn’t run out of water. 

When a tree is first put up, it will need a lot of water, so check it at least twice a day. After a few days, it won’t take in as much water; just check the stand frequently to make sure it doesn’t run out. 

How do I keep the tree from drying out?

It’s a good time to start to use your room humidifier, to keep the air moist enough to keep the tree from drying out.

If the stand does run out of water, the bottom of the tree will dry and won’t be able to absorb water. You’ll have to make another “fresh cut”, which can be a pain once you have all your decorations on the tree.  

And don’t worry about adding any additives to the water. Plain, fresh water is good enough to keep your tree looking good for the season.

And if you have thirsty pets who may drink from the tree bowl, don’t add any chemicals to the water.

Can my Christmas tree be replanted?

Recycling is all the rage, and certainly, we support efforts to preserve the environment. Christmas trees can be mulched to add to your garden landscaping. You might know someone with a pond that would take your tree and use it for protection when the fish are breeding- it will give the babies a safe area to hang out.

Be sure you dispose of a Christmas tree properly. Contact your waste hauler to see how they want you to dispose of it.

Can my Christmas tree be used for firewood?

Maybe. You might be able to use a Christmas tree in a firepit, but be careful -- the pine tar might stain an indoor fireplace.

Do you have smaller trees?

Yes! If space is limited, you can still enjoy a Christmas tree in a smaller variety. We have a limited supply of smaller trees that can be enjoyed in a pot, which can make them last even longer than a cut tree. In the spring, you can plant it and have a wonderful tree to enjoy all year! Several families who visit us buy a live, ready-to-plant tree every year and plant them in their yard. Some plant them in memory of someone. Isn't that a nice idea?

Where does Designer Landscapes Get its trees? 

Most of our trees come from Northern Wisconsin from a family tree farm that has been in business since 1966. They do their own shearing (shaping) in the summer and harvest only the best trees.

Visit the Christmas Shop at Designer Landscapes!

At the Designer Landscapes Christmas Shop, families have come from all over central Illinois to enjoy a fun, intimate experience. We enjoy seeing the families in multiple generations return year after year. We’ve always got fresh popcorn, music and our team of experts to help you pick out your perfect tree, wreath, or whatever outdoor decorating supplies you need. We love hearing your stories of past Christmases. So come on out and celebrate the season with us.

Infographic comparing different the features of various pine trees.Source


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