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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Extension Today: Christmas Trees

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White pine, Canaan fir, Blue Spruce – and many more varieties. What kind of tree you bring home to decorate depends on whether you want long or short needles, how heavy are the ornaments you want to hang, and the overall color of tree you want to enjoy over the holiday season.

Learn how to prep the tree you bring home so the needles last and you get maximum enjoyment out of your tree. And if you want to plant the tree in your yard after Christmas, you can do that with one that is  “balled and burlaped.”

We have many free fact sheets available on Ohioline, including one that explains the differences between several kinds of evergreen, needle-bearing trees that can decorate your yard or your home at the holidays.

Fir? Pine? Spruce?
 How do I figure out what species of Christmas tree I might even want? Check out this summary of tree varieties, courtesy of the Ohio Christmas Tree Association. This expert group can help you locate a farm at which you can pick out your own tree, as well as get tips for choosing and caring for a fresh Christmas tree, and other helpful hints. Visit to learn more.

What will you do with your live Christmas tree when you get it home? Save some space to store the tree in a cool garage if you don't move it into the house right away. When you put the tree in the stand, you'll need to cut off about an inch of the bottom to open it up; then it must be kept in water. Don't let the tree dry out. Inside the house, place your tree in a cool spot, with no direct sunlight if possible.

Tom deHaas, Extension educator in Lake County, has recently posted some videos on Live Christmas Tree Selection and Care that can be very helpful when you plan to bring home your own live tree this year.

Check out Buckeye Yard & Garden onLine (BYGL) for other current information about Ohio growing conditions, pest, disease, and cultural problems.

History lesson: The late Jim Brown, former assistant director of the Ohio State School of Environment and Natural Resources, spent much of his career researching, propagating, and developing the Canaan fir to grow well in Ohio. And he spent countless hours after his retirement continuing to work with this tree variety. His work paid off – with credit richly deserved for developing the Canaan fir part of the Christmas tree industry in Ohio. We still have seed orchards on the Wooster campus, and a patent on the Canaan fir seed.

Canaan fir trees in winterCanaan fir trees in summer







In Ohio and the Canaan FirOhio's Country Journal summarizes the basic history of the Canaan fir  how Jim Brown discovered this unique fir tree growing in West Virginia in the 1970s, realized its potential to grow well in Ohio's climate and soil, and learned more by studying and experimenting with the tree. Its location in the Canaan Valley led to the tree's name, but its adaptation to Ohio has been a valuable addition to Ohio's Christmas tree industry.

Kathy Smith, program director, Extension forestry, is an expert in tree planting, woodland management, woody plant identification, and forest management, and other natural resources topics. As program director for the Ohio Woodland Stewards Program, Kathy is responsible for coordinating, promoting and teaching programs targeted toward Ohio’s many woodland owners and natural resource professionals. Read Kathy's full bio online in this directory (page 19).

Dave ApsleyExtension specialist, natural resources, specializes in forest management and forest ecology. Dave focuses on building partnerships to improve woodland management on family forests.  He has 30 years of professional experience in forestry and natural resources education, management and research. Among his work, Dave coordinates A DAY in the WOODS (, a woodland owner outreach effort focused in the Appalachian Ohio area. Read Dave’s full bio online at