Pseudotsuga menziesii – Douglas Fir is the traditional Westcoast Christmas tree and has long been a sentimental favourite. Unsheared specimens are your typical ‘Charlie Brown’ trees, but these have difficulty holding ornaments of any weight. This is a relatively inexpensive tree with good fragrance but it is often prone to needle drop, so be prepared to vacuum a little.
Picea pungens ‘Fat Albert’ – This cultivar of Colorado Blue Spruce is often too expensive to be offered as a cut tree, so they are a little more common as balled & burlapped live specimens. Although it is a bit prickly to the touch, the steel-blue foliage is a fabulous contrast to almost any colour of garland or ornament. ‘Fat Albert’ in particular has a broad base, so there’s lots of room to decorate.
Abies nordmanniana – Nordmann Fir is somewhat similiar to Noble Fir in appearance, but it usually has slightly longer glossy green needles. This European species is a common Christmas tree there, but it is only recently available as a cut tree locally. You can expect strong branches that hold your ornaments well, foliage that is soft to the touch and needles that are not prone to dropping.
Abies procera – Noble Fir is the Cadillac of Christmas trees with its bluish-green (shown in foreground) to deep green needles and strong branches for hanging those heavy ornaments. Natural trees tend to have more pronounced gaps between the branch whorls, which is ideal for those who like to decorate throughout the tree. Noble Fir has light scent and does not shed its needles.
Abies grandis – Grand Fir is the most fragrant of all Christmas trees with its distinctive citrus scent, reminiscent of Mandarin orange. It is usually heavily sheared to promote density, which means that the hung ornaments tend to follow the contour. That said, the glossy deep green flat needles are a beautiful contrast for whatever you choose to put on the tree. This species does shed a few needles.