Christmas Tree photo credit

Proper selection and care of your Christmas tree will keep it fresh and looking its best throughout the holidays.

The hunt for the perfect tree is oftentimes an important part of family tradition. Buy local whenever possible by supporting local Christmas tree growers. Purchasing locally grown trees also reduces the risk of spreading unwanted pests into your landscape. Your local University Extension Service and Department of Natural Resources provide updates on any threats.

Family tradition may dictate your tree choice. Many prefer the fragrance of balsam fir and needle retention of other firs like Fraser, white, Grand, and Noble. Though not a true fir, Douglas fir needles have a wonderful aroma when crushed. White pine lacks the fragrance that many prefer. Its pliable branches only support lightweight ornaments, but the soft needles have less bite than the popular Scots or Scotch pine. This evergreen has stiff branches that support heavier ornaments and its needles hold even when dry.

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Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books, including the recently released Midwest Gardener’s Handbook, 2nd Edition and Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” instant video and DVD series and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio program. Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine and her website is