What types of Christmas trees are available?


What types of Christmas trees are available?


Many species of trees are available as cut Christmas trees in both local tree farms and commercial lots. The species you select will depend on attributes like color, shape, needle retention, aroma, and branch stiffness (to hold up heavy ornaments). 

Below is a list of Christmas tree speices often found in Iowa and their attributes.  

Popular Christmas Tree Species

Name Scientific Name Color Needle Length Nativity Aroma* Needle Retention Notes
Fraser Fir

Abies fraseri

dark blue-green with silver undersides 0.5 to 1 inches Southern Appalachian Mtns Very Good Excellent Stiff branches.  One of the most popular species
Balsam Fir Abies balsamea Dark green 0.75 to 1.5 inches Eastern N. America, including Iowa Excellent Excellent The dense dark needles make it one of the most popular species.
White Pine

Pinus strobus

bluish-green 2.5 to 5 inches Eastern N. America, including Iowa Little Excellent Long flexible soft needles.  Not recommended for heavy ornaments.
Scotch Pine

Pinus sylvestris

bright green 1 inch Europe Good Excellent Very popular species.  Needles remain on tree even when dead
Colorado Blue Spruce

Picea pungens

blue  1 to 1.5 inches Western U.S. Good to Fair Very Good Needles are very sharp.
Douglas Fir

Pseudotsuga menziesii

dark to medium green 1 to 1.5 inches Western N. America Very Good Very Good Branches not as stiff and can bend with heavy ornaments
Concolor Fir (White Fir)

Abies concolor

dull bluish green 1 to 1.5 inches Western N. America Very Good Excellent Softer needles than colorado spruce with similar color.
Canaan Fir

Abies balsamea var. phanerolepis

dark green, silvery underside 0.75 to 1.5 inches Eastern U.S. Excellent Excellent Very similar to balsam and Fraser fir
White Spruce

Picea glauca

green to bluish-green 0.5 to 0.75 inches Eastern N. America Not pleasant Average Short stiff needles.  Great for heavy ornaments
Noble Fir Abies procera dark green, silvery underside 1 inch Western U.S. Very Good Excellent Know for its beauty.  Also used as greenery for wreaths and garlands.
Red Pine Pinus resinosa dark green 3 to 5 inches Eastern N. America Good Very Good Not as widely grown or available, espeically outside of Iowa.
Eastern Red Cedar

Juniperus virginiana

dark green to bronzy-red/purple < 0,25 inches, scale shaped Central and Eastern N. America, including Iowa Good, strong Average Widely available and native to Iowa, but not frequently grown as a Christmas tree.  Not good for heavy ornaments

* Aroma can be highly subjective.  This is how the aroma is rated on average.

Other species of tree that are often grown as Christmas trees but not common to find in Iowa include: Virginia pine, Leyland cypress, Korean fir, grand fir, Nordmann fir, and Norway spruce.

Get more information from this article: Guide to the Selection and Care of Christmas Trees

Fraser Fir Cut Tree
Fraser Fir


Douglas Fir Cut Tree
Douglas Fir


Scotch Pine Cut Tree
Scotch Pine


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