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Jerry Davis: Best Christmas tree? Take your pick

December 18, 2018

Christmas is not a noble time to argue, but disagreements continue regarding several popular fir trees.

Disputes are not only among buyers and decorators, but sellers and growers, too.

Literature favors the Fraser fir, which is a subspecies of the balsam fir. It was discovered in 1957 growing in North Carolina, but virtually all native stands (North Carolina and Tennessee) have been destroyed by a woolly aphid-like insect and by acid precipitation.

Usually a Fraser shows up as the White House indoors Christmas tree. Growers like to call it the Cadillac of Christmas trees (why not the Lincoln?). It has short, soft needles (leaves) that stay fresh and fragrant throughout the season.

Balsam firs are much more naturally widespread, although Frasers are planted extensively. Their needles are bicolored, top and bottom, showing silver and dark green on Christmas trees.

Balsam branches are more flexible than Frasers and hold heavier ornaments, but hold fragrance, freshness and some say splendor just as well and the newbie.

White pine is another favorite indoors tree, but is rarely as full as the two firs. This pine is one of three native to Wisconsin. With pruning, it can become a full, compact tree, too, and hold ample, large ornaments.

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