The Fraser fir

By Shawn McClain

Thinking back on the years of selecting Christmas trees for the Kingwood traditional display in the house, many have questioned why we haven’t tried other types of Christmas trees in the house. Let me reassure you that we have tried a blue spruce once in the dining room. It was extremely heavy and hard to work with in the stand, not to mention that the needles didn’t make it through the season. Hence, the desired effect was less then satisfactory. The next attempt was to try a Douglas fir for the foyer tree as you walk into the house. It was so much better to work with and filled the requirements for the height and space available.   The reason for this selection that year was finding a suitable Fraser fir tree. We determined that in a pinch  this could be a good alternative to our all-time favorite Fraser fir.

Christmas tree production in the mountains of North Carolina

Christmas tree production in the mountains of North Carolina

There are many reason that we like the Fraser fir selection. The Fraser fir branches turn slightly upwards. It provides strong branching structure and gives a compact appearance allowing us to place ornaments on the branches as we see fit.  They have good pyramid form and needle-retention.  The needle retention is important in warmer house environment. They are dark blue-green in color and have a pleasant scent. The Fraser fir liens itself to be a popular selection for not only Kingwood Christmas and home display for many people.

Abies fraseri foliage

Abies fraseri foliage

A few other interesting facts that make this a good choice is relatively few pest problems exist to cause appearance problems through the growing season. When grown in fertile, rocky to sandy soils which are acidic, it takes 7 to 10 years in the field to produce a 6-7 feet tree. This year’s foyer tree is 16 feet tall, so you can figure out the number years it took to get to that height.

I didn’t realize until recently that the White House in Washington D.C. has used this tree frequently since the middle of the 1800’s.  If the White House uses them, it likely means this a great selection.

White House tree

White House tree

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