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Choosing a Christmas Tree Variety

Questions to Consider

Do you want a fuller tree (one with dense branches) or a more open tree (one with more spacious branches)?
If you like the look of a bushy tree, choose a fuller type. If you like to decorate the interior of the tree, use larger ornaments, or be able to see through the tree, then choose a more open tree type.

Do you tend to decorate with heavy ornaments?
If you use heavy ornaments, be sure to choose a tree variety with strong branches.

Does scent matter to you?
Some varieties are very fragrant while others only have a light scent.

How long do you plan to display your tree for?
If you plan to display your tree for several weeks, be sure you choose a variety with good needle retention. Ensuring that trees are placed in cooler locations, far from heating vents (which dry trees out) will also help with needle retention. Checking on the water levels of the tree daily and watering as needed is also critical. If the tree runs out of water, the cut will dry out, resin will block the pores, and the tree will lose the ability to take up water. Additional products such as tree preservatives and Wilt Pruf or Wilt Stop can help extend the life of the tree.

How much do you want to spend?
At Rick’s, we only carry premium quality Christmas trees. Our tree prices are based on two main factors – size and the cost of producing that tree variety. Larger trees are more expensive as are varieties of trees that are slower growing (and therefore take longer to produce).

Overall Attributes

There are three main types of evergreen trees sold as Christmas trees – firs, spruce, and pines.


Soft needles, fragrant, strong branches


Spiky needles (good for repelling cats), very strong branches, fuller/wider


Long soft needles, unique elegant shape, less dense (more open) branches

Christmas Tree Accolades

Longest Lasting
Fraser Fir & White Fir
Honorable Mentions: Scotch Pine, Balsam fir, White Pine

Best at Repelling Pets
Blue Spruce

Most Traditional Christmas Tree Look
Noble Fir
Honorable Mention: Scotch Pine

Strongest Ornament Holder
Blue Spruce
Honorable Mentions: Balsam Fir, Fraser Fir, Noble Fir

Longest Needles
White Pine & Scotch Pine

Strongest Scent
Balsam Fir (strong) & Fraser Fir (pleasant)

Christmas Tree Variety Details

Balsam Fir

Balsam firs have fragrant, dark green foliage and are known for their strong branches and soft needles. Balsam firs have excellent needle retention and retain their pleasing scent throughout the holiday season.

Foliage Color: Dark Green
Needle Type: Soft
Needle Retention: Excellent
Branches: Strong and point straight out from the trunk
Overall Shape: Not too narrow, not to wide, right in the middle
Scent: Fragrant “Christmas tree” scent, retains scent throughout the holiday season

Fraser Fir

Fraser firs have dark green needles with a frosty glow and pleasing fragrance. They are beautifully shaped with strong, slightly upturned branches and excellent needle retention. Fraser firs are considered one of the most desirable Christmas trees in North America.

Foliage Color: Dark Green, frosty underlying glow
Needle Type: Soft and upright
Needle Retention: Excellent, very long lasting
Branches: Strong and point slightly upward, can be dense
Overall Shape: Fuller than a Balsam, but not as full as a Noble or Nordman
Scent: Pleasant scent, retains scent throughout the holiday season

Noble Fir

Known as “America’s Christmas tree,” the Noble fir is one of the loveliest Christmas trees we carry. These slow growers have beautiful dark green foliage with bushy branches that are strong and straight.

Foliage Color: Dark Green
Needle Type: Soft
Needle Retention: Good
Branches: Strong, point straight out from the trunk, good spacing between branches
Overall Shape: Very full
Scent: Light fragrance

Nordman Fir

The Nordman fir is a very full, wide tree and has the softest needles of any tree we carry. It has a low fragrance level and beautiful symmetry.

Foliage Color: Dark Green, frosty underlying glow
Needle Type: Softest of them all
Needle Retention: Good
Branches: Good strength for average ornaments
Overall Shape: Very full, heavy trees, nice cone shape
Scent: Light fragrance

White Fir

Our white firs are sourced from forest thinning efforts in New Mexico, making them an environmentally conscious choice. Because they are not farmed, these trees have a more rustic, natural shape with beautiful soft, light-green foliage.

Foliage Color: Light green
Needle Type: Long and soft
Needle Retention: Excellent
Branches: Strong, open spacing
Overall Shape: These trees are harvested, not farmed, and have a more natural shape
Scent: Fragrant

Colorado Blue Spruce

Blue spruces are known for their striking foliage that can be bluish green to silvery blue. A slow grower, the blue spruce has stiff, strong branches and a desirable pyramidal shape. The needles are spiky and may repel cats who are prone to tree climbing.

Foliage Color: Blue-green to powdery silver
Needle Type: Spiky, may repel pets
Needle Retention: Needles may drop in a warm environment
Branches: Stiff and strong
Overall Shape: Very full and wide
Scent: Stronger scent

Scotch Pine

Scotch pines are a traditional favorite due to their economical price and incomparable needle retention. The branches are strong with bright green, medium length needles that will not drop even if the tree becomes dry, making it an excellent choice for warmer homes.

Foliage Color: Dark green
Needles: Stiff, one inch long
Needle Retention: Excellent (incomparable!) Needles will stay on even when dry
Branches: Stiff
Overall Shape: Open appearance with more room for ornaments
Scent: Fragrant, maintains scent throughout the season
Notes: Easier to grow, very economical

White Pine

White pine Christmas trees have long, soft, bluish-green needles and excellent needle retention. This tree is known for its elegant, symmetrical shape.

Foliage Color: Bluish-green
Needles: Long and soft, very elegant
Needle Retention: Excellent
Branches: Wispy branches with open space between them, does best with lighter ornaments
Overall Shape: Open appearance with more room for ornaments
Scent: Very little aroma