Buying Guide

Best Real Christmas Trees for You

Environmental Benefits of Live Christmas Trees
Christmas trees growing in a field.

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.

Most types of real Christmas trees take approximately seven years to reach maturity, and for every tree that is harvested, anywhere from one to three more seedlings are planted. Check out our guide about the benefits of real versus artificial Christmas trees.

Recycling programs located in most communities turn your used tree into useful mulch. Many of our locations offer Christmas tree recycling free of charge. Call your local store to find out if they are participating. In some areas, recycled trees are also being used to create habitats for fish and other aquatic life in local ponds and lakes, as well as helping to slow erosion.

When you choose from the different types of Christmas trees below, consider this important part of its life cycle. 

SAFETY: It is not safe for cats or dogs to eat pine needles or drink Christmas tree water. Monitor your pets closely and cover the tree stands to ensure their safety.

Black Hills Spruce
A Black Hills spruce Christmas tree in a driveway.

Black Hills spruce trees are dark green in color and have a symmetrical shape with a conical crown.

  • 1/2- to 3/4-inch needles 
  • Dense, full-coverage foliage 
  • Sturdy branches can hold heavier ornaments 
  • Fair needle retention 
  • Work well in small spaces
Colorado Blue Spruce
A group of Colorado blue spruce Christmas trees in a field.

Colorado blue spruce trees have a dark blue-gray to silvery blue color, pyramidal shape and conical crown.

  • 1- to 1 1/2-inch needles 
  • Symmetrical form 
  • Excellent needle retention 
  • Popular Christmas tree type for living trees and landscaping 
  • Works well in small spaces 
  • Will last longer than other varieties 
  • Pleasant fragrance
Douglas Fir
A young family choosing a Douglas fir Christmas tree.

Douglas fir trees can be dark green or blue green in color and have a pyramidal shape.

  • 1- to 1 1/2-inch needles 
  • Sweet, subtle scent 
  • Commonly available 
  • Long-lasting needle
Eastern White Pine
An Eastern white pine Christmas tree against a white background.

Eastern white pine trees can be blue green to silver green in color and have a conical shape.

  • 2 1/2- to 5-inch needles 
  • Little or no fragrance 
  • May be better for allergy sufferers 
  • Soft, flexible needles 
  • Not ideal for heavy ornaments 
  • Better for people with severe allergies
Fraser Fir
A young family selecting a Fraser fir Christmas tree.

Fraser fir are types of Christmas trees that have a dark green color and pyramidal shape.

  • 1/2- to 1-inch needles 
  • Strong branches ideal for heavy ornaments 
  • Excellent needle retention 
  • Fresh fragrance
Grand Fir
A family choosing a grand fir Christmas tree.

Grand fir trees have a dark green color and a symmetrical shape with rounded crown.

  • 1- to 1 1/2-inch needles 
  • Strong fragrance 
  • Needles have a glossy appearance
Noble Fir
A family choosing a noble fir Christmas tree.

Noble fir trees have a blue-gray with silver appearance and a 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 Spruce
A group of Norway spruce trees growing in a field.

Norway spruce trees have a dark green color and triangular shape.

  • 1/2- to 1-inch needles 
  • Soft, subtle scent 
  • Fair needle retention
Scotch Pine
A couple looking at a Scotch pine Christmas tree.

Scotch pine trees range from bright green to blue green in color and have a conical shape.

  • 1- to 3-inch needles 
  • Stiff, sturdy branches for supporting heavy decorations 
  • Lasting aroma 
  • Excellent needle retention
White/Concolor Fir
White fir Christmas trees growing in a field.

White fir trees, or concolor firs, have blue green color and pyramidal shape.

  • 1 1/2- to 3-inch needles 
  • Releases pleasing citrus aroma when needles are crushed 
  • Good needle retention
White Spruce
A white spruce Christmas tree with lights against a white background.

White spruce trees are green or blue green and have a symmetrical shape with a conical crown.

  • 1/2- to 3/4-inch needles 
  • Dense, full-coverage foliage 
  • Sturdy branches can hold heavier ornaments 
  • Crushed needles release an unpleasant odor 
  • Fair needle retention
How to Select the Best Christmas Tree
A shopper looking at the tag on a Christmas tree.

When selecting the best real Christmas trees for your home, look for those with a bright, vibrant coloring. Because fresh-cut trees have a limited life, purchase one that was recently harvested. Most types of Christmas trees that are freshly cut usually last between four and six weeks, so be careful not to purchase too early; sometime around Thanksgiving is ideal.

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.

Christmas tree height is an important consideration. Once you’ve determined your ideal Christmas tree location, measure the available height and width of the area. Measure your chosen area before buying your tree to ensure that you select one that fits.

Remember when shopping: the taller the tree, the larger the base. Also make sure to allow an appropriate amount of space between the tree and the ceiling for a Christmas tree topper.

Upon purchase, we will cut the bottom inch or two off of your tree's trunk in order to improve water absorption once you arrive home. Put your newly cut tree in water within one hour of cutting the trunk.

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, the best real Christmas trees should retain the vast majority of their needles. 
  • Withered bark on the outer twigs and branches indicates excessive dryness. 
  • Fir needles that are fresh and well-hydrated snap crisply when bent. 
  • Inspect fresh-cut trees for the presence of insects and other pests. 
  • If you tend to hang heavy ornaments, lightly pull on the tree branches to test their strength. 
  • Be sure to select a tree that can fit into your stand. Christmas tree stands should have a minimum capacity of 1-quart of water for every inch of trunk diameter.
Christmas Tree Safety and Care
A person watering a Christmas tree.

Keeping your tree hydrated is the key to maintaining a healthy, vibrant display 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.

Follow the tips below and learn more about how to care for your live Christmas tree from our how-to guide.

  • 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. 
  • Living Christmas 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. Reverse the procedure when returning it to the yard. 
  • Recycle all types of real Christmas trees at the end of the season through your local community program.

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.  

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.

  • Using smaller, less heat-intensive Christmas tree lights, such a mini lights or LEDs, will reduce drying. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • When hanging large Christmas tree ornaments, check to make sure the branch doesn't significantly droop under the weight. 
  • Take extra precautions to ensure your tree will not be easily toppled. 
  • Clean up pine needles on a regular basis, especially if you have children or pets in the house. Christmas tree skirts can help contain pine needles and create a seasonal backdrop for gifts under the tree while tree bags can be used to easily dispose of your tree without scattering needles, branches and other debris.

Find the best Christmas tree for your family and shop our selection of Christmas decor. Each of our freshly cut trees is harvested with care and replaced with a new seedling in the spring.

When you shop from our Christmas tree lot, an associate will prep, net and load the tree onto your car, so all you have to worry about is how to decorate it. Use our How to Decorate a Christmas Tree guide for inspiration.

Save time with our app or shop online for all the Christmas lights, ornaments and garland you need to trim the tree and deck the halls. The Home Depot delivers online orders when and where you need them.