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What Makes Douglas Fir the Perfect Holiday Tree?

December 11, 2012 by | Jennifer | There have been 0 comments

If you’re one of the 30 million Americans who will adorn their home with a real tree for the holiday season this year, then you’re probably familiar with the tree-choosing ritual: you circle the selections, you debate about the choices, and then you stand in the cold and ponder whether the tree will actually look good in your living room and survive until the last strands of tinsel and lights have been cleared away.

Here’s a tip to make your tree-selection process easier this year: choose a Douglas fir. They’re full and attractive, they’ll keep their needles for a month or more, and they smell like you’ve died and gone to Winter Wonderland Heaven.

Douglas fir is one of the top varieties of Christmas tree grown in the United States. Ever since the 1920s, when Christmas tree farming was in its infancy, they’ve been the major species used in the nation’s largest tree-producing region, the Pacific Northwest. Douglas fir makes up about 47 percent of the crop in Oregon and Washington and is popular world-wide, shipping each year to places as far away as the Philippines, China, and Guam.

Why are Douglas fir trees so popular for holiday celebrations?

Holiday beauty: The major factor is their attractiveness. People want a tree that will display their family heirlooms with style, and Douglas fir is known for its full, bushy boughs that provide a gorgeous backdrop for decorating, with no wide gaps or ugly holes to fill in. Its densely-packed branches point upward, which makes it easier to hang ornaments without the fear of them crashing to the ground. Most commercially grown Douglas fir trees are carefully trimmed into a perfect conical shape, excellent for draping with lights and other holiday cheer.

The needles on a Douglas fir radiate in all directions from the branch and have a rich, green color that is the same from the bottom to the top of the needle. The needles tend to be 1 to 1.5 inches long, and they’re soft and flexible to the touch—an excellent quality if curious little ones with wandering fingers will be at your house for the holidays.

Long-lasting display: The part of decorating with a real tree that everyone dreads is cleaning up after all those needles that drop off. However, if you pick a Douglas fir and water it carefully, you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise in the needle department. Douglas fir Christmas trees are known for having good needle retention and will last for a month or more after being cut.

Fresh fragrance: The other benefit to decorating with a real Douglas fir tree—the factor that a plastic tree just can’t provide—is that delicious “fresh-tree” smell. Tree growers describe the scent of Douglas fir as “sweet,” “wonderful,” “pine-like,” and “distinctive,” and note that the aroma of a Douglas fir will linger in your home throughout the holiday season.

A high achiever: Christmas tree growers favor the Douglas fir because it’s native to the Northwest and thus grows extremely well in forests of this fertile region; a Douglas Fir can reach prime holiday-tree height (about seven feet tall is the most popular height for cut trees) by the time it is six or seven years old. That’s several years faster than other evergreen species.

In fact, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the tallest real Christmas tree ever displayed was a Douglas fir: a 221-foot giant that decorated a Seattle shopping center in 1950.

The tree-lover’s choice: If Douglas fir’s attractiveness, durability, fragrance, and popularity aren’t enough to convince you, then take a cue from the people of Oregon, where folks take their trees very seriously. More than 6.4 million holiday trees are harvested in Oregon each year, and holiday tree sales are worth more than $110 million to the state’s economy annually. Even Oregon’s major-league soccer team is named the Timbers, with a real chainsaw-wielding lumberjack known as Timber Joey as its mascot.

The center of the state’s holiday spirit can be found in Pioneer Courthouse Square, affectionately known as “Portland’s living room.” Each year it takes a crane to get the city’s massive holiday tree in place. Workers then spend weeks decorating it with up to 14,000 lights, until community members gather the day after Thanksgiving for a community sing-a-long and tree-lighting ceremony. It’s a spectacular tradition, beloved by people throughout the state. The center of all this hoopla? You guessed it—a towering 75-foot Douglas fir.

So follow in the footsteps of tree-loving Oregonians—and millions of other Douglas fir-fans worldwide—and choose a beautiful, long-lasting, aromatic Douglas fir for your holiday tree.

This post was posted in All Entries and was tagged with Douglas-fir, christmas tree, holiday tree, the perfect holiday tree, the perfect christmas tree

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