Balsam fir:
aBalsam fir (Abies Balsamea) thrive in cooler climates, adapting to a variety of soils
This wonderful species is native to Canada, ranging from Alberta to Newfoundland.
The most popular Christmas tree grown in Canada is characterized by:
a dark green appearance,
good needle retention,
an attractive form,
a wonderful fragrance.
Characteristics of balsam fir needles:
15-25 mm (¾-1 inch) long,
flat with a rounded or notched tip,
lower branches have two rows of needles along the sides of each branch,
dark-green on top and whiter on the bottom.

These trees naturally reach 12-18 meters (40-60 feet) in height and live 150-200 years.

Six to twelve years are required to produce a 6-7 foot Christmas tree that is ready for market.


Fraser Fir:

bFraser Fir: (Abies fraseri) thrives in fertile, rocky to sandy acidic soils.

Fraser Fir characteristics:
dark green color,
lush dense foliage,
excellent needle retention,
strong branches capable of carrying heavy ornaments,
nice light fragrance.
The Fraser fir’s needles are:
soft , making the tree ideal for children to handle and decorate,
flat and up to 1 inch long,
deep green with a blue/grey underside,
curled up (on upper branches).

This species was discovered by John Fraser, a Scottish explorer and botanist, when he was exploring the southern Appalachian Mountains in the late 18th century. Though these trees grow naturally typically at elevations above 1,500 meters  in the south-eastern United States, they are now grown widely, where possible, across the continent as Christmas trees.

Stump culture: the root system and bottom whorls (branches) of the tree remain after harvest. One of the branches will turn into a new Christmas tree

Stump culture: the root system and
bottom whorls (branches) of the tree
remain after harvest. One of the
branches will turn into a
new Christmas tree

Douglas Fir:

Douglas Fir: (Pseudotsuga manziesii) grow throughout western North America, from the interior of British Columbia to the mountains of Mexico.

Douglas Fir characteristics:
dense bushy shape,
easily decorated,
sturdy branches are able to support a large number of Christmas tree lights and decorations.
Douglas fir needle Characteristics
Dark green or blue green,
2-3 cm (1 – 1.5 inches) long,
soft to touch,
radiate in all directions from the branch.

David Douglas, the renowned Scottish botanist studied and discovered this species in the 1820’s. It is a strong softwood tree which is widely used in the construction industry. It also makes for a wonderful Christmas tree.

dCanaan Fir: (Abies Balsamea) has many similarities to both the Fraser and the balsam fir in growth and appearance, as it offers the wonderful bouquet of a balsam fir combined with the beauty of a Fraser fir. The needles have a beautiful green topside, and a silver/white underside. Canaan fir grow in soils too wet to grow Fraser fir or Douglas fir. In addition, Canaan fir has a later bud break, reducing damage from late spring frosts. It is a beautiful tree that will gain importance in the years to come.

Noble Fir: (Abies Procera) A beautiful Christmas tree with stiff branches and extended durability. This species is growing in popularity and is widely used to make wreaths, swags, garland and other Christmas products.

Grand fir: (Abies grandis) can reach heights of 100 meters (300 feet). The needles are spread horizontally so that both the upper and lower sides of the branches are visible. The needles have glossy dark green tops with two highly visible white lines on the underside. The needles are 2-3 cm    (1 to 1½inches) in length.

White Fir or Concolor Fir: (Abies Concolor) is an excellent ornamental tree and is widely planted in the eastern United States and Canada. Its small, narrow needles are around 2-3cm (1-1½ inches) in length and are laid out in rows. They have good foliage color, good needle retention, and a pleasing shape and aroma.

© Canadian Christmas Tree Growers Association