Live Christmas Trees

Christmas Trees - Live Christmas Trees

Nothing signals the start of the Christmas season quite like bringing home a fresh cut Christmas tree that fills your home with the festive scent of pine. This guide will teach you about different tree varieties and care tips so you can be sure you're bringing home the best type of Christmas tree for your family.

When choosing the location for your live Christmas tree, select a spot that is cool and free from drafts. Also double-check that the tree is located away from heat sources such as vents, fireplaces or appliances to help the tree retain moisture and remain healthy.

Once you’ve determined your ideal Christmas tree location, measure the available height and width of the area.
Remember when shopping: the taller the tree, the larger the base. 
Allow an appropriate amount of space between the tree and the ceiling for a Christmas tree topper.

Choose between different varieties of pine, fir and spruce Christmas trees. This table will walk you through the most common types of Christmas trees and their advantages.

Image Tree Type Color Shape Description
Balsam - Live Christmas Trees

Balsam Fir

Dark green

Pyramidal shape with spire-like tip

  • ¾ - 1 ½-inch needles
  • Strong fragrance
  • Good needle retention
Black Hills - Live Christmas Trees

Black Hills Spruce

Dark green

Symmetrical shape with a
conical crown

  • ½ - ¾-inch needles
  • Dense, full-coverage foliage
  • Sturdy branches can hold heavier ornaments
  • Fair needle retention
Colorado - Live Christmas Trees

Colorado Blue Spruce

Dark blue-gray to silvery blue

Pyramidal shape with conical crown

  • 1 – 1 ½-inch needles
  • Symmetrical form
  • Excellent needle retention
  • Popular Christmas tree type for living trees and landscaping
Douglas - Live Christmas Trees

Douglas Fir

Dark or blue green


  • 1 – 1 ½-inch needles
  • Sweet, subtle scent
  • Commonly available
  • Long-lasting needle
Eastern pine - Live Christmas Trees

Eastern White Pine

Blue green to silver green


  • 2 ½ - 5-inch needles
  • Little or no fragrance
  • May be better for allergy sufferers
  • Soft, flexible needles
  • Not ideal for heavy ornaments
Fraser - Live Christmas Trees

Fraser Fir

Dark green


  • ½ - 1-inch needles
  • Strong branches ideal for heavy ornaments
  • Excellent needle retention
  • Fresh fragrance
Grand - Live Christmas Trees

Grand Fir

Dark green

Symmetrical shape with rounded crown

  • 1 – 1 ½-inch needles
  • Strong fragrance
  • Needles have a glossy appearance
Noble - Live Christmas Trees

Noble Fir

Blue-gray with silver appearance

Pyramidal shape with upturned needles

  • 1-inch needles
  • Long-lasting needle life
  • Stiff branches are well-suited for heavier ornaments
  • Pleasing aroma
  • Often used to create swags, garlands and wreaths
Norway - Live Christmas Trees

Norway Spruce

Dark green


  • ½ - 1-inch needles
  • Soft, subtle scent
  • Fair needle retention
Scotch - Live Christmas Trees

Scotch Pine

Ranges from bright greens to blue greens


  • 1 – 3-inch needles
  • Stiff, sturdy branches for supporting heavy decorations
  • Lasting aroma
  • Excellent needle retention
White Fir - Live Christmas Trees

White/Concolor Fir

Blue green


  • 1 ½ - 3-inch needles
  • Releases pleasing citrus aroma when needles are crushed
  • Good needle retention
White Spruce - Live Christmas Trees

White Spruce

Green or blue green

Symmetrical shape with a conical crown

  • ½ - ¾-inch needles
  • Dense, full-coverage foliage
  • Sturdy branches can hold heavier ornaments
  • Crushed needles release an unpleasant odor
  • Fair needle retention

Live Christmas trees are a renewable resource, with hundreds of thousands of acres dedicated to their growth. Christmas tree farms raise and harvest different varieties of trees, virtually eliminating the harvesting of trees in the wild, which can deplete valuable forests.

According to the National Christmas Tree Association, every acre of planted trees produces enough oxygen to meet the daily needs of 18 people.

  • The average tree takes approximately seven years to reach maturity.
  • For every tree that is harvested, anywhere from one to three more seedlings are planted.
  • Recycling programs located in most communities turn your used tree into useful mulch.

When selecting your tree, look for one with a bright, vibrant color. Because fresh-cut trees have a limited life, purchase one that was recently harvested. As soon as you get the tree home, make a new cut on the trunk so it can readily absorb water.  

Selection Tips  

  • Needles that look dull and listless can indicate dryness or age.
  • Shake the tree and observe how many needles it sheds. While some needle loss is normal on any tree, it should retain the vast majority of its needles.
  • Withered bark on the outer twigs and branches indicates excessive dryness.
  • Pine trees with brittle needles that break easily are dehydrated.
  • Fir needles that are fresh and well-hydrated snap crisply when bent.
  • Inspect both fresh-cut and live trees for the presence of insects and other pests.
  • Be sure to select a tree that can fit into your stand. Stands should have a minimum capacity of 1 quart of water for every inch of stem diameter.
  • Fresh-cut trees usually last between four and six weeks, so be careful not to purchase too early; sometime around Thanksgiving is ideal.

Care and Maintenance

Keeping your tree hydrated is the key to maintaining a healthy, vibrant tree throughout the holiday season. Trees can consume as much as a gallon or more of water per day, depending on the type and size of the tree. Make sure your stand has enough depth to keep the base of the trunk submerged in water at all times.

  • Ask a Home Depot associate to saw ½ to 1 inches off the tree’s base and immediately place it in water once you’re home.
  • Check water daily and make sure that the base of the tree is always covered.
  • Water your tree using plain tap water with no additives for best results.
  • Recycle your tree at the end of the season through your local community program.
  • Live trees (trees with root systems) should only be located indoors for between three and 10 days.
  • If you live in a cold climate, before bringing the tree indoors let it rest in a cool part of the home like a garage. The same is true of returning it to the yard.

When it comes to fire safety, the most important thing to know is that a well-hydrated tree provides natural protection against fire hazards. To keep you and your family safe during the holidays, you should water your tree every day, without exception.

  • Using smaller, less heat-intensive Christmas tree lights, such a mini lights or LEDs, will reduce drying.
  • When hanging large Christmas tree ornaments on the tree, check to make sure the branch doesn't significantly droop under the weight.
  • Always inspect electrical and light cords for damage or wear before hanging them and discard defective ones immediately.
  • Use only UL-listed lighting, which has been tested by an independent agency.
  • If you have small children or pets in your house, take extra precautions to ensure your tree will not be easily toppled.
  • Always unplug and turn off lights when leaving the house or going to bed, or use an automatic timer to turn lights off and on.


  • Christmas tree watering systems keep your fresh-cut tree thriving all season long by delivering a constant supply of water straight to the base of your tree.
  • Use tree bags to easily dispose of your tree without scattering needles, branches and other debris all over your house. These specially designed units fit over and around your tree at the end of the season so you can more easily transport it out of your home. Some even feature handles on the side for easier carrying.
  • Christmas tree skirts cover up your tree stand and create a beautiful, seasonal backdrop for gifts under the tree.