The amazing life of Christmas trees -Part II


After the short introduction to the basics of Christmast tree cultivation last week, this time I would like to show you the types (species) that we ususally use to dress them up and a few marketing data and facts from all over the world.

The species used mostly depends on regional traditions and personal preferences. There is a quite big differrence in the use of species between America and Europe… Generally we can say that American costumers prefer denser, closer, more compact, perfectly cone-shaped trees. According to a poll the favourite North-American trees are the Fraser fir, Douglas fir, Balsam fir, Colorado Blue spruce and Scotch pine. On the other hand, the “European dream” is open and stiffer, you can find Christmas trees decorated with candles even nowadays sometimes. Europe’s favourites are the European silver fir, the Nordmann fir and the Norway spruce. Of course the world nowadays is globalised enough so we cannot really differentiate the taste based on continent (and I would say the decoration of the tree changes much more (and more a matter of fashion) than the tree itself).
Nevertheless, here are two tipical examples to American and European Christmas tree types just to see and feel the difference 😉 
(So… which do you think is the American and which the European? ;))

european xmas treeamerican xmas tree

And a photo-list from the above-mentioned species:

(In the following order: Fraser fir, Douglas fir, Balsam fir, Colorado blue spruce, Scotch pine, Silver fir, Nordmann fir, Norway spruce)

Balsam-Fircolorado blue spruce

scotch pinesilver fir  

nordmann firNorwaySpruce     

And if you still haven’t got enough of the types, check out this video, it’s much more amusing than just watching the photos, and he introduces other species and shares interesting pieces of information as well 🙂

And after all these descriptions and photos maybe you would say… Aren’t most of the trees very very similar? What is the point of cultivating so many different species?
Well, if you watched the video or have some general ideas about horticulture, you maybe know the answer already:
Maybe just after watching the photos you say “Beh, they’re all the same for me.” But if you think a little mit more… When you choose your tree, is it the same whether the color is blue or green? Is it indifferent whether the tree has long needles or short needles? Sharp needles or soft? If it smells like citrus or not? If it has long benches or short? If it’s easy to put on the decorations or everything is falling down from the tree?
And if you think even more… As a farmer obviously you would like to satisfy the need of the consumers… But can it be maybe easier? If you choose a species which is more tolerant to deseases? (After all, which familiy would like a tree half eaten by an insect?) Or maybe could they facilitate their life by choosing a species which requires less pruning? Or maybe irrigation or fertilisation?
As usually in horticulture, the optimal selection of species is very important even in case of Christmas trees- for the farmers, traders and consumers.

And some interesting marketing data for the end:

In the last years the perfentage of artificial Christmas trees purchased gradually increases. In the United States the consumers bought around 30.8 million live trees in 2011, while this figure was 24.5 million (!) only one year later.

  • The export of the US covers mainly China, Japan, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Mexico.
  • The number of Christmas trees currently grown on farms is 350 million (the growing time of an average tree is 7 years) in the USA.
  • Total spent money on real Chrismas trees in the US in 2011: 1.07 billion dollars.
  • 100000 people are involved in Christmas tree industry in the USA.
  • In Europe the market for Christmas trees is approx 50-60 million trees per year.
  • The biggest producers in Europe are Germany, France and Denmark.

That is it for today and also this is the end of the Cristmas tree-series. I hope you got a little overview of the topic and some enthusiasm to continue reading in the topic. And I also wish you all found the Dream Tree of the Christmas of 2013 😉

pine transport


About Luca Utassy

Horticulture, agriculture, food and communication. This is what I love and do. From seeds through production, plant health, marketing, animal breeding, economy, policy, foodsafety, food quality and so on... I love this full package and I would love to share my enthusiasm and generate a little agrilover foodie-environment here :)
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1 Response to The amazing life of Christmas trees -Part II

  1. Pingback: Christmas trees | Science on the Land

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