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The 5 Best Artificial Christmas Trees of 2022

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Photo: Michael Murtaugh

We’ve set up enough artificial Christmas trees to know that with care, decoration, and attention to detail, a lot of them can look beautiful, but the 7.5-foot National Tree Company Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir stands out as a realistic, competitively priced, versatile, and attractive option that we recommend first among the dozen-plus trees we’ve tried since 2016. However, “competitively priced” has taken on new meaning in fall 2021, as prices for artificial trees have risen considerably. If you can wait another year, you may save some money. Artificial Christmas trees also have a higher environmental cost than live trees, a factor on the minds of a lot of people who have invested in both types and weighed the relative advantages.

Our pick

National Tree Company 7.5-foot Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir (PEDD1-D12-75)

Realistic, full, generously sized, and versatile, this LED-lit tree can switch between all-white and multicolor modes, and its power connects as you put the sections together.

Compared with both pricier and cheaper trees, the National Tree Company Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir (PEDD1-D12-75) strikes a good balance of cost, realism, and ease of setup. Offering nearly 2,000 lifelike polyethylene branch tips surrounding a core clad with very fake PVC “pine needles,” it has a construction similar to that of other high-quality artificial trees—but at 37% polyethylene, a higher-than-average proportion of those lifelike branches, it creates a more convincing illusion of a living tree. Its 750 built-in LED bulbs fill its branches nicely, and the lights can switch from all-white to multicolor to a mix of the two, giving it uncommon versatility. And whereas some trees require you to hunt down the light strings’ plugs among the foliage and manually connect them, this tree’s trunk-mounted PowerConnect system automatically does the job for you when you stack its three sections together. At 7.5 feet high and almost 5 feet across, the tree is generously proportioned; it’ll fill the corner of almost any living room. Finally, it’s widely available, easy to set up, and competitively priced. (For smaller homes, we recommend the 6.5-foot version.)

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Also great

Right out of the box, without any of the fluffing of branches that all artificial trees require, Puleo’s 7.5-foot Royal Majestic Douglas Fir Downswept Tree (RMDD-75QC8) looked so lifelike that a staff writer walking by commented, “It looks like a real tree.” Puleo augments its realistic polyethylene branch tips with subtle color variations such as lighter-green ends simulating new growth, creating one of the most convincing illusions we’ve seen on any artificial tree. Its lights connect automatically via wiring in the sections of trunk, making setup easy. Unlike on all our other picks, though, the lights on this tree are traditional incandescents, not LEDs, and moreover, they come only in clear. But if you prefer the warmer glow of incandescents, that’s a feature, not a bug. And unlike with some incandescent Christmas lights, the rest of the bulbs keep working even if one bulb burns out.

Upgrade pick

Compared with National Tree’s Downswept Douglas Fir, Balsam Hill’s 7.5-foot Fraser Fir Flip Tree Color + Clear LED has a higher number and a greater proportion of realistic branches, which makes it appear more lifelike especially from across a room. It also has more lights (1,320 versus 750), creating an opulent display that our testers universally preferred. The lights, like the Downswept Douglas Fir’s, connect automatically via plugs within the trunk, and they too can switch between clear, color, or a mix of the two. We particularly appreciate that this tree’s base has wheels, a unique feature among our test group, as they make moving it into place and into storage much easier. The “flip” function simply tilts the lower section of the tree upright during setup—so you don’t have to lift it into place yourself—another welcome feature since the tree weighs 78 pounds in total. Like the less expensive trees we tested, it still requires you to put in some time arranging and perfecting it to make it look its best, but it can achieve a level of fullness and realism that’s truly stunning.

Also great

The National Tree Company 7.5-foot Winchester White Pine (WCHW7-300-75) is our pick for fans of kitsch or people who just want something fun and funky. It’s proudly unrealistic, sporting an all-white trunk, branches, and PVC needles lit by 500 white incandescent bulbs. But to our surprise, in our tests even those who prefer a traditional live tree loved the way it looked. It glows like a glass lantern, and it’s especially beautiful in a dark room or in a corner that doesn’t get a lot of sunlight in the daytime.

Also great

National Tree Company’s 7.5-foot Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir Pencil Slim (PEDD4-392D-75) is a great choice for small spaces such as a foyer or apartment, or as an accent tree (in a pair flanking a fireplace or doorway, for example). At just 32 inches wide, it’s barely half the width of the Downswept Douglas Fir on which it’s based. It has the same type of (but fewer) realistic branches, and its 300 LED bulbs can shine in white, multicolor, or a mix of the two. Due to its pencil shape, it looks like no living pine we know of, but when lit and decorated, it’s pretty in its own right.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

National Tree Company 7.5-foot Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir (PEDD1-D12-75)

Realistic, full, generously sized, and versatile, this LED-lit tree can switch between all-white and multicolor modes, and its power connects as you put the sections together.

Also great
Upgrade pick
Also great
Also great

The research

  • Why you should trust us
  • Who should get this
  • How we picked
  • How we tested
  • Our pick: National Tree Company 7.5-foot Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir (PEDD1-D12-75)
  • Also great: Puleo 7.5-foot Royal Majestic Douglas Fir Downswept Tree (RMDD-75QC8)
  • Upgrade pick: Balsam Hill 7.5-foot Fraser Fir Flip Tree Color + Clear LED
  • Also great: National Tree Company 7.5-foot Winchester White Pine (WCHW7-300-75)
  • Also great: National Tree Company 7.5-foot Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir Pencil Slim (PEDD4-392D-75)
  • The competition
  • On fake trees, real trees, and harming the environment
  • The facts on lead in PVC tree parts

Why you should trust us

Our crash course in artificial Christmas trees began in 2016 when Wirecutter senior staff writer Tim Heffernan visited a fake-tree manufacturer’s New Jersey headquarters. Since then we’ve shopped for trees online and in person at several big-box stores, tested several trees over the years, and spent hours examining trees at House of Holiday—New York City’s largest holiday shop—whose owner Larry Gurino “love[s] to geek out over artificial trees.” Wirecutter supervising editor Courtney Schley has interviewed the American Christmas Tree Association, which represents artificial-tree makers, to understand the industry itself, including the manufacturing processes, sales and design trends, and statistics. For the 2019 version of this guide, Wirecutter senior editor Harry Sawyers spoke with three major tree manufacturers to identify the latest offerings and track new developments in the fake-tree world. In 2021, Tim spoke with three manufacturers, two of them new to us.

Who should get this

The best way to think about who should get an artificial Christmas tree is to compare the benefits and drawbacks of fake versus live Christmas trees.

On the plus side, artificial trees are:

Durable: A good artificial Christmas tree can last a decade, whereas live trees last a single season.

Cost-effective over the long term: Up front, artificial trees are much more expensive than live ones; in 2020, a live tree on average cost $81, according to the National Christmas Tree Association, which represents the live-tree industry. But at that average, a $400 artificial tree pays for itself after five years, and the best of them can last years more than that.

Low maintenance and low stress: There’s no need to water a fake tree or to shimmy underneath the thing to secure it in its stand. You don’t have to get to the tree lot early enough every year to hunt for a “good” one (a tradition that plenty of people enjoy). Having the tree at home ready to go once Thanksgiving wraps up means one fewer errand and one less expense at a busy, budget-straining time of year.

Safer: A 2019 New York Times article noted that while around 160 home fires a year involved Christmas trees, the National Fire Protection Association reported that “a disproportionate share of Christmas tree fires involved natural trees.” Also in 2019, researchers for a local CBS news station based in Washington, DC, attempted to set an artificial tree on fire (video) with a lighter but didn’t succeed until they poured around a gallon of gasoline over it. In the same test, a healthy and well-watered live tree caught on fire immediately but eventually went out—though it’s important to note that their test tree had no ornaments or lights and stood against a concrete wall. In an NFPA video, in contrast, a dry, unwatered live tree burned furiously. The NFPA also found that Christmas tree lights were the cause of close to half of all Christmas tree fires (PDF). Be sure to check any tree lights for exposed wires, and never hang ornaments directly on the wires, as the weight or the sharp points on a hanger can compromise the wires’ protective coating.

Not messy: Fake trees don’t scratch up the roof of your car in transit or cover your hands in sap when you’re moving them or setting them up. They don’t shed, and they don’t leave a sad trail of needles as you drag their withered husks out of the house after New Year’s.

On the downside, fake trees are:

A pain to store: Storage is the most important reason to skip a fake tree—if you don’t have a garage or basement where you can fit a heavy box the size of a water heater in the off-season, forget it. On top of the bulk, an artificial tree often won’t fit back into the large box it came in, and if you keep yours in an uninsulated space, both heat and dampness can damage it and shorten its lifespan. It seems wise to protect your investment with the minor additional cost of a dedicated storage bag such as the Elf Stor Premium Christmas Tree Bag (a well-reviewed item we have not personally tested over the long term).

Not beautiful out of the box: Setup is hardly effortless with a fake tree, as we saw consistently during our firsthand tests. Once you get a live tree back home and secure in the stand, you just need to put its best face forward, and it looks realistic automatically … because it is in fact real.

Not 100% realistic: Even the highest-quality fake trees still don’t appear truly lifelike viewed up close. They can be quite similar to the real thing, but their plastic branches usually have a uniform appearance and a strange shine that tells the eye they’re unnatural. That said, from a distance, they can look very, very good.

Odorless: Fake trees lack the sweet piney aroma that many people associate with Christmas.

There’s also the question of whether fake trees or real trees are better for the environment. The conclusion we reached is that live trees are considerably better in that regard, but that buying a fake tree every 10 years is a drop in the environmental bucket compared with the ecological cost of other, everyday consumption (of gasoline, electricity, gadgetry, and so on).

How we picked

You can find plenty of great artificial trees these days, in dozens of “species”—assorted firs, spruces, redwoods, and pines—in multiple heights and girths, colors, and lighting styles. For this guide, we defaulted to the most popular choices, as determined by our research into sales trends, in a quest to come up with a tree type that would please the most people. Our interviews with National Tree Company and the American Christmas Tree Association yielded a few key facts about trends in the industry. The 7.5-foot size is the most popular, as US home ceilings are usually 8 feet high, so our picks reflect that.

After years of testing trees in every price bracket, in 2021 we decided to stop recommending “budget” trees. The problem isn’t their lack of realism—we found that even the fakest-looking trees are attractive once they’re lit and decorated. It’s about their long-term decline. Their cheaper construction shows when you’re setting them up and packing them into storage, as needles shed, branches break, and the overall look goes from passable to ragged over several years. Artificial trees have a significant environmental impact and can’t be recycled, too. So we decided to recommend only those models that you can reasonably expect to last for a decade or more, as they’ll spread their impact out over time. For anyone to stick with a fake tree that long, it has to be impressive to start and then remain that way through annual wear and tear.

This change meant setting our sights only on the most convincing, lifelike artificial trees, which usually carry a correspondingly high price tag. We were surprised to find how much a good fake tree cost when we began this research several years ago, and we’ve had an eye-opening shopping experience again in 2021, as tree prices have risen across the board (subscription required) due to the widespread supply-chain issues affecting deliveries from China, where almost all artificial trees are made.

Cost and realism go hand in hand on artificial trees. Using molds often taken from actual branches, artificial-tree manufacturers shape polyethylene, or PE, to produce highly realistic branch tips. But a higher percentage of polyethylene generally means a higher price, and as with real trees, bigger sizes come with bigger costs. Well into the 2000s, the only material that manufacturers used in artificial trees was polyvinyl chloride (PVC). On most trees now, PVC appears mostly as the obviously fake, tinsel-like filler branches near the tree’s trunk. Those branches aren’t prominently visible, but they do add visual density—helping to give the impression of an especially “full” tree. PVC is cheaper to produce than PE, and it’s also a lot lighter. In looking for trees that had a good mix of realistic PE tips and internal PVC filler, we were really seeking models that balanced realism, cost, and weight.

On the topic of PVC: What was once a genuine health concern—the use of lead as a PVC stabilizer—is no longer an issue in most artificial trees sold in the US, according to National Tree Company and the American Christmas Tree Association, the latter of which represents artificial-tree companies.

Polyethylene branch tips (in the model’s palm) are highly realistic and give the tree a natural look. Branch tips made of PVC (near the model’s fingers) lack polyethylene’s realism, especially at a close distance. Photo: Michael Murtaugh

Prelit trees make up 90% of the artificial trees sold in the US, according to the American Christmas Tree Association, with most of those studded with energy-saving and durable LED bulbs. We looked for prelit trees that had roughly 100 bulbs (or more) per foot of tree height; fewer than that can make the lighting appear sparse. To cover everyone’s tastes, we looked for trees that could switch between all-white and multicolor lighting. We didn’t prioritize flashing light patterns or other visual effects: As Larry Gurino of House of Holiday told us, “Most people don’t use them—they just want to see them [advertised] on the box.”

Virtually all contemporary artificial trees have branches permanently mounted on hinges on the center pole. Thanks to this design, they unfurl into place quickly when you set them up. We avoided the outdated designs in which you snap individual branches into sockets on the center pole one by one, a time-consuming and fussy process.

Last, we looked into smart trees that folks could control via their phones, whether they’re traveling or just want to eliminate the inconvenience of turning their tree on and off manually every day. But the best way to do this currently, as is the case with most basic home goods, is to use a reliable plug-in smart outlet and control the tree through that.

The best way to make a fake tree smart

How we tested

Photo: Sarah Kobos

For the 2019 version of this guide, we brought in eight trees of various styles and levels of realism and had a diverse group of Wirecutter folks—writers, programmers, business managers, our editor-in-chief—set them up in our office in Long Island City, New York. Guide author Tim Heffernan participated in the setup of each tree to get firsthand experience with all our contenders. And we invited everyone in the office to share their preferences and impressions of the trees over the course of two weeks.

Here’s what we learned:

  1. No fake tree looks convincingly lifelike up close (say, from a distance of 6 feet or less). Living trees have color variations and other “imperfections,” and that’s part of what tells the eye that they’re real.
  2. Even inexpensive trees can look very good from across the room, and more expensive trees—those with a high proportion of realistic branch tips—can look truly real.
  3. Fake trees arrive with their branches tightly compressed from being squeezed into the shipping box; they look less like living things than they do furry green war clubs. To make a tree (of any price or level of realism) look good, you have to “fluff it,” a tedious but necessary process in which you manually separate and arrange the branch tips to give the tree more volume and a more realistic shape. And the branches can scrape your hands, so consider wearing gloves.
  4. Once we lit and decorated them all, every tree in our test looked great. When setting up one of the inexpensive, all-PVC, decidedly non-realistic trees in our test, Wirecutter staff writer Anna Perling stated flatly, “I hate this tree.” But an hour later she admitted that it looked nice. What had changed? We’d fluffed it.
  5. Hooking up the strings of lights on prelit trees can be a pain. Many trees make you hunt down the plugs on each section and either hook them together or draw them down through the tree to a common power-strip-like master plug. So we prioritized trees that run their wiring through the “trunk” (the metal pipe the branches mount to) and automatically connect when you stack the sections atop one another during initial setup. That’s a much easier way of doing it, and our testers preferred it.

Fluffing and decorating our pick—a 40-minute job for Wirecutter’s Haley Sprankle and Jordan Bowman—compressed to 23 seconds. Haley joked, “I feel like this process could break a couple up.”

Our pick: National Tree Company 7.5-foot Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir (PEDD1-D12-75)

Photo: Michael Murtaugh
Our pick

National Tree Company 7.5-foot Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir (PEDD1-D12-75)

Realistic, full, generously sized, and versatile, this LED-lit tree can switch between all-white and multicolor modes, and its power connects as you put the sections together.

National Tree Company’s 7.5-foot Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir with dual-color LEDs (PEDD1-D12-75) is our pick among artificial Christmas trees. We’ve seen much more expensive trees that look somewhat more realistic, as well as much cheaper trees that look reasonably lifelike, but the Downswept Douglas Fir strikes a sweet balance of price, realism, and ease of setup. After fluffing, it is especially full and lifelike, and its generous, 59-inch girth will fill most living rooms. The lights can switch between multicolor and a pretty champagne-gold white (plus multiple combinations of color and white and flashing or “sparkling”) to match a wide range of tastes. And in an unusual touch for a tree of its price, the light strings connect automatically when you stack the tree’s three sections together, thanks to cables and plugs that run through the “trunk.” That’s much easier than the usual process of hunting down bare plugs among the foliage and manually hooking them together. Last, the tree is widely available: If you’d like to see it in person, Home Depot, Kohl’s, and many holiday stores typically carry it.

With 1,867 lifelike polyethylene branch tips, the Downswept Douglas Fir is thickly foliated and shows no gaps after fluffing. And at 37% polyethylene, it has a higher proportion of realistic foliage—and a lower proportion of fake-looking PVC—than many trees in its price range. Note, however, that the price of the Downswept Douglas Fir varies considerably among retailers, as we’ve seen it listed for as low as $375 and as high as $1,000; seasonal demand and availability pressures can cause huge swings. It may ease the sting to remember that you’re making at least a 10-year investment.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, even though this tree is artificial. Photo: Michael Murtaugh

The Downswept Douglas Fir, like the vast majority of contemporary prelit trees, features LED bulbs rather than traditional incandescents. They last longer, run cooler, and (in the Downswept Douglas Fir’s case) can toggle between multicolor, all-white, a mix of the two, and blinking and sparkling variations thereof. We think the ability to switch between color and all-white modes is a genuine strength of this tree. You could use all-white for a more sophisticated look during a grown-up holiday party, for example, and use the multicolor mode when the mood is more festive. Or you could do something different from year to year so that it doesn’t seem like the same tree every Christmas. And with 750 bulbs, the Downswept Douglas Fir meets our recommendation of 100 bulbs per foot of tree height. Fewer than that can look sparse, but the Downswept Douglas Fir’s lights are sufficient in number and evenly placed.

Thanks to the PowerConnect feature, you don’t need to reach into the thicket to find a power cord (while plastic pieces poke you in the face). Video: Michael Murtaugh

The Downswept Douglas Fir’s all-white settings give off a subtle straw-gold tone (versus pure white) that many of our staffers praised. And its multicolor settings, while brighter than those of traditional incandescents, are not harsh and cold as on some LED Christmas-tree lights. The choice isn’t just white or multicolor, either: You can also select a Mardi Gras–like mode with white, green, and pale purple lights. And when we set it to the “sparkling” mode on the white bulbs—in which some bulbs gently faded and then re-brightened—several people gasped in surprise and delight. There are some forgettable blinking settings (where the bulbs shut on and off as if someone were flipping a light switch), but all in all, the versatility of this color-change mode is an excellent feature worth seeking out, on this or any other National Tree species, because it really sets the tree apart from the pack of more basic alternatives. Even guide author Tim Heffernan, a committed fan of incandescent bulbs with no gimmicks, happily admitted that these are some wonderful effects.

Connecting the light strings is easy on this tree. On some artificial trees, you have to find plugs among the foliage—not easy, since the plugs and wires are green, like the foliage—and manually connect them. But the Downswept Douglas Fir features National Tree’s PowerConnect system: The wires connect automatically when you stack the tree’s three sections together, via sockets inside the “trunk” (see the GIF above). That’s a huge plus. National Tree does make a version of this tree without PowerConnect—it’s the National Tree PEDD1-312LD-75X, a model we cover in more detail in the Competition section. (Unfortunately, it usually doesn’t sell for a lower price.)

In a design common to modern artificial trees, the Downswept Douglas Fir’s branches are all permanently mounted on hinges on the center pole (older artificial trees required you to attach branches individually via sockets). And like most trees its height, it comes in three sections. As you stack the sections, the branches fold out under their own weight—though you then have to fluff them, a tedious task that can take an hour for one person working alone.

National Tree Company offers a warranty for its realistic prelit trees taller than 6.5 feet, such as our pick, that covers manufacturer defects for five years from the date of purchase. The LEDs are covered for three years. You need proof and the date of purchase to file a claim, and you need to have treated the tree and lights with reasonable care to have your claim approved.

Accidents do happen, though, like the time a robot vacuum belonging to Ben Frumin, Wirecutter’s editor-in-chief, severed a section of his Downswept Douglas Fir’s electrical cord after gobbling up several inches of the cord near the light-controlling foot pedal. All it took was one call to customer service, a $15 charge, and 48 hours before Ben had a replacement cord in hand and the tree was merry and bright once more.

The lights are well designed, but should you experience any issues, the included troubleshooting tips (PDF) are easy to follow. An internal shunt in each bulb continues the flow of electricity if a single bulb goes out, so the rest of the strand won’t be affected—if you notice a single dark spot, simply swap the unlit bulb out with one of the included replacements. If a section of a light string malfunctions, the culprit is usually a single bulb that came loose, whether it has burned out or not. A light tester can help you find the problem bulb without the effort of removing and replacing each one. Should an entire string go dark, it likely means that a fuse in the plug has burned out, and all of the National Tree Company picks in our guide come with replacements for those, as well; again, follow the included instructions (PDF) for guidance. If all of these options fail, customer support is on hand to help, though we’ve found it extremely difficult to get through to a live agent as the holidays grow closer. The earlier you set up your tree, the better.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

As we have learned from experience, the major drawbacks to owning this tree, or any artificial tree of a similar size, are all about storage.

People often overlook the fact that they’ll need to store an artificial tree for 10 or 11 months out of the year, Larry Gurino of House of Holiday pointed out. And lack of storage space is the main reason, he added, that city and apartment dwellers favor live trees. (He also noted that when live trees get thrown out, they often become free mulch for public parks—in effect, they’re recycled.) So unless you have lots of storage room in your place, a live tree may make more sense.

And even if you have room to store an artificial tree, bear in mind that, as Gurino noted, it won’t easily go back into its original box: “Once you fluff it, it’ll never fit exactly. ” But if you have ample storage space, you don’t have to keep a tree in its original box. Rather, Gurino said, keeping it covered and dry is the main thing. You can separate the sections and flatten the branches as compactly as possible, or you can keep it whole; just don’t store it somewhere it’ll be trampled or moved a lot. And a climate-controlled space (converted basement, storage closet) is always preferable to an uninsulated attic or garage.

Also great: Puleo 7.5-foot Royal Majestic Douglas Fir Downswept Tree (RMDD-75QC8)

Photo: Sarah Kobos
Also great

If you’re looking for a terrifically realistic tree at a good price, the Puleo 7.5-foot Royal Majestic Douglas Fir Downswept Tree (RMDD-75QC8) is a great option. Its polyethylene branch tips exhibit subtle variations in color, becoming lighter green at their ends just as living branches are lighter at their ends, where new growth occurs. It’s a remarkably convincing technique—upon seeing the Royal Majestic for the first time, one Wirecutter writer simply said, “It looks like a real tree.” The tree has a generous 1,860 of the realistic tips, too, just shy of the Downswept Douglas Fir’s count of 1,867. The Royal Majestic has another feature that we value highly: As on the Downswept Douglas Fir and many of our other picks, its lights connect automatically when you put the tree’s three sections together, so you don’t have to hunt for plugs amid the greenery. However, the Royal Majestic is available only with clear lights, and they’re incandescent rather than LED, which makes this tree less versatile than our top pick. But the lights are at least of a more modern kind—if one bulb goes out, the rest of the string stays lit—eliminating one big drawback to old-style incandescents. If you prefer clear lights to colors, and if the warm glow of incandescents is a plus in your book, it’s a tree to consider strongly.

Besides being realistic, the Royal Majestic is notably easier to fluff than other trees we’ve tested. Its branches are made with memory wire—Puleo calls it Insta-Shape—and in theory they spring into place when you set up the tree for the first time. Other companies have a similar option; for example, the Balsam Hill Fraser Fir Flip Tree, our upgrade pick, has what the company calls Pre-Fluffed branches. But Puleo’s worked better in our testing. Guide author Tim Heffernan spent just 10 minutes or so fluffing the Royal Majestic, whereas the Balsam Hill took him almost an hour. (In fairness, the Balsam Hill also has 1,564 more branch tips to attend to, but if the ratio of tips to fluffing time were equal, it should have taken just 20 minutes.)

The pole-connecting lights (Puleo calls the design Sure-Lit) also make setup easier, just as on many of our picks—a point highlighted by the fact that the particular Royal Majestic we tested turned out to be a warehouse model from a prior year and had lights that needed to be manually connected. That led to an irritating half-hour game of hide-and-seek for Tim as he searched for the pine-green plugs among the equally pine-green foliage. Puleo’s vice president of marketing and sales, Chris Kelly, assured us that all the Royal Majestics arriving in stores this year have the Sure-Lit feature but are otherwise identical to the tree we got. But if you decide to buy one, look closely at the label or product description: Some older models may still be on the shelves.

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum, the German word for “polyethylene” is “polyäthylen.” Photo: Sarah Kobos

The incandescent, clear-only bulbs are the Royal Majestic’s only major drawback. If you prefer colors, you’ll have to unstring the lights it comes with and string your own—there is no unlit version of the tree. On top of that, incandescents do not last nearly as long as LED bulbs do. The inevitable burnt-out bulbs won’t ruin the look of the tree because, unlike with older incandescents, they won’t make the rest of a string of lights crap out; Puleo supplies a generous number of replacement bulbs and fuses, too. (Though these are, annoyingly, tightly taped in small packets to the strings—you have to find them and then snip them off carefully so as not to nick the wires. ) On the plus side, this tree has 800 lights, exceeding our 100-per-foot-of-height rule of thumb for a well-lit tree. And incandescents have a soft warmth that LEDs can’t match. If that sounds like what you want, you’ll be pleased with the Royal Majestic.

Upgrade pick: Balsam Hill 7.5-foot Fraser Fir Flip Tree Color + Clear LED

Photo: Sarah Kobos
Upgrade pick

If you want one of the very best artificial trees available, we recommend the Balsam Hill 7.5-foot Fraser Fir Flip Tree Color + Clear LED. It represents a huge step up in price from our top pick, but you definitely get more tree for the money: 1,320 white and multicolor lights (versus our top pick’s 750) and 3,424 branch tips (almost double our top pick’s 1,867), as well as an easier time setting this tree up in comparison with most others. It’s a real investment, but it’s spectacular.

Any properly fluffed tree, from the cheapest to the most expensive, looks very good when decorated and lit—all the foliage fades into a dark tree-shaped silhouette, and your eyes land on the bright lights and glinting decorations.

The Fraser Fir offers Balsam Hill’s full set of premium features, including those high bulb and branch counts. To make setup easier, it’s what the company calls a “flip tree”: Instead of a design consisting of separate bottom and middle sections that you have to stack manually, this tree combines them into a single section that flips upside down on an axle for storage (allowing the branches to flop against the trunk) and upright for display (upon which the branches, as on all modern fake trees, fall into position under their own weight). It makes setup a bit quicker, but the chief advantage is that you don’t have to lift the lower two-thirds of the tree into place yourself—all told, the tree weighs 78 pounds, so doing so would take some strength. The flip mechanism also allows Balsam Hill to put the tree on built-in casters, which make moving it into place easier. (Balsam Hill offers a nearly identical—in terms of branch-tip and light bulb numbers—non-flip version that usually sells for several hundred dollars less, so if you have the necessary muscle, it’s a way to save a bit of money. It doesn’t have wheels, however.)  But although all of Balsam Hill’s Fraser Fir models have Pre-Fluffed (as the company calls it) memory-wire branch tips, we found that they didn’t work as advertised: Fluffing the flip tree we tested still took about an hour.

Rockin’ around the Christmas tree, it’s PVC and polyeth-yleeene. Photo: Sarah Kobos

Due to the high bulb count, the Fraser Fir appears opulently lit compared with our other picks. We think the dual-color LED version of the tree offers the best value over the long term: Not only do you get the long-lasting durability of LEDs, but you also have the versatility to switch colors on all of the tree’s lights if you want to change the look from white to multicolor or a mix of both. Balsam Hill trees come with two boxes of replacement bulbs in case of individual blackouts, and per the included troubleshooting tips, if an entire section of the tree doesn’t light up, you just gently turn the “trunk” back and forth a bit at each contact point to make sure the pole-to-pole connection is secure. We’ve yet to see a review from anyone who experienced unsolvable light issues, but should it happen to you, reach out to customer service. Balsam Hill covers the tree with a three-year warranty.

When we viewed our test models as plain green trees, in natural daylight and with the tree lights off, the artificial Fraser Fir looked quite convincingly like the real thing. It also looked particularly great when lit and decorated, thanks to its extremely full appearance and the huge number of bulbs. The caveat here is that you often can’t truly appreciate the realism: Any properly fluffed tree, from the cheapest to the most expensive, looks very good when decorated and lit—all the foliage fades into a dark tree-shaped silhouette, and your eyes land on the bright lights and glinting decorations.

Please come home for Christmas, remote control we hope we don’t lose sometime around the third year of owning this deluxe fake tree. Video: Sarah Kobos

One last point: You can operate the Fraser Fir’s lights via a small remote control, whereas in contrast most prelit trees, including the Downswept Douglas Fir, make you use a button on the power cord. But the Fraser Fir has such a button, too, which is good for peace of mind. The remote is handy because it means you don’t have to root around behind the tree when you want to change the lighting modes, but we could easily see it getting lost or simply malfunctioning over the decade or more that the tree should last. Take care to keep the remote stored in a safe place in the off-season.

Also great: National Tree Company 7.5-foot Winchester White Pine (WCHW7-300-75)

Photo: Michael Murtaugh
Also great

If realism isn’t your cup of tea, or if you simply prefer the Jet Age look of a different-color tree, we recommend the National Tree Company 7. 5-foot Winchester White Pine with Clear Lights (WCHW7-300-75). Even our staffers who prefer live trees found it beautiful. Its all-white branches, trunk, and glitter-dusted all-PVC needles give it a pretty, crystalline look when the lights are off. And with the lights on, all those reflective surfaces make the tree glow from within. Whereas green foliage simply disappears into a dark silhouette once the lights are on, the Winchester White Pine transforms into a snowy lantern when lit. The effect is especially striking in a dark room or in a corner that doesn’t receive a lot of natural light in the daytime.

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas—and I mean literally, I’m dreaming of a stark-white fake tree. Photo: Michael Murtaugh

Realism obviously isn’t a point of comparison between the Winchester White Pine and our other picks. But you still have to fluff the tree to get it to look its best, a process that deposits glitter on your hands, clothes, and floor. And we found that the Winchester White Pine lost more of its needles while we were fluffing than any other tree in our test. Not a huge amount—nothing like the shower of fallen needles you get when setting up a live tree—but you need to do a sweep or vacuum afterward.

We also found that the Winchester White Pine is more sensitive to light placement than our other picks. If any of its 500 incandescent bulbs are blocked by the foliage, they create a dark patch that stands out against the internal glow of the tree. So spend a bit of time tugging individual bulbs into a position where they shed their light broadly. Do that, and you’ll wind up with a weirdly wonderful tree.

Our long-term tester of this tree reports that in its second year the glitter and needle shedding persists, and that a portion of branches has developed some slight discoloration, possibly due to heat in her storage space, but overall “it’s still as magical.”

Also great: National Tree Company 7.

5-foot Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir Pencil Slim (PEDD4-392D-75)

Photo: Michael Murtaugh
Also great

The National Tree Company 7.5-foot Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir Pencil Slim with Dual Color LED Lights (PEDD4-392D-75) is a great option for small spaces such as a home’s foyer or a compact apartment. It’s similar in construction to our top pick, the Downswept Douglas Fir, with a rich mix of realistic polyethylene branch tips and fake PVC filler branches. And it uses the same dual-color LED lights—only it has 350 bulbs, not 750, because there’s so much less tree to cover. At just 32 inches, it’s barely half as wide as the 59-inch Downswept Douglas Fir, so it doesn’t look like any pine you can find in nature; it’s more like a cypress. But that small girth means it can fit in spaces where a full-width tree can’t.

Santa, baby, hurry down the chimney, with a tree skinny enough to fit through the flue. Photo: Michael Murtaugh

Placed side by side against our other picks, the Pencil Slim looks bizarre, and among our staffers it was nobody’s first (or second or third) choice. But once we set it up on its own and decorated this tree, it still looked more than realistic enough. And as with our other picks, once the lights are turned on, the tree itself disappears into the background; all you see are the lights and the glimmer of the decorations. This unusual shape also proves a broader point that we kept running across in our research—whatever size, shape, height, or style of tree you need, you can usually find a pretty good model to fit the bill.

We’re highlighting this model in particular because, as with the branch-tip construction, its lights are the same as those on our pick, the popular and widely appealing Downswept Douglas Fir. The lights have the same multiple colors and patterns (nine in total), including all-color, all-white, and the “sparkling” mode—where some bulbs gently dim and re-brighten—that our staffers found so charming. Again, it has fewer of them (350 versus 750), but the Pencil Slim still looks fully lit, because those lights are spread among so much less foliage.

As always, you have to fluff the Pencil Slim tree to make it look good. But the process is much faster due to the tree’s narrow shape.

The competition

We were excited about a 7.5-foot version of the Home Decorators Collection Swiss Mountain Black Spruce Twinkly Rainbow Christmas Tree. It’s one of a number of new trees, from multiple manufacturers, that come with app-controlled LED lights that you can program directly or set to multiple preprogrammed patterns—pushing their abilities beyond the seven or eight presets that most white-plus-color trees come with. From what we’ve found through reporting, people are now using trees with this feature as non-Christmas decorations, setting them to Halloween colors when it’s time for trick-or-treaters, for example, or to team colors for sporting events. Sadly, the tree itself was a disappointment; compared with our picks from National Tree, it had a higher proportion of cheap-looking PVC branches, and the finer polyethylene branches tended to break off during routine, delicate handling. We do love its Twinkly smart lights, though, enough so that we’ve added them to our guide to the best Christmas lights. The Home Decorators tree’s most valuable asset is the 600 Twinkly bulbs prestrung on it, which retail on their own for several hundred dollars. You’re better off buying the lights separately and adding them to a tree of your choice.

The National Tree Company PEDD1-312LD-75X, a former pick in this guide, is a great tree, but we made a mistake about one feature in recommending it previously. This model lacks the company’s PowerConnect feature, in which the lights connect when you attach the central pole. Instead, this model requires you to manually connect standard plug connectors near where the segments of the tree come together. It’s workable, but the PowerConnect feature is even better, and our top pick has that. And unfortunately, this more basic version does not usually sell for a lower price than our pick.

A reader asked about Bethlehem Lights, a tree brand that’s primarily sold through QVC. Although the quality of this line appears statistically comparable to that of a National Tree model, the overall purchase is a weaker value in comparison. On top of a nearly equivalent price, QVC charges a hefty shipping fee. One now-discontinued option we considered had fewer lights, at 600, and they were incandescent (not LED), which put it at a disadvantage in durability and total lifespan.

Frontgate mostly competes with Balsam Hill in the premium category, as it focuses on super-realistic and super-expensive trees. Their specs—and prices—are impressive. In 2021, we tested one of the company’s Fraser firs and found its build quality and realism equal to that of the Balsam Hill Fraser fir that we recommend. You won’t go wrong with any of Frontgate’s offerings, but they are pretty limited, especially if you want something other than clear-only lights: Frontgate offers only a single indoor tree (and one outdoor tree) with a multicolor feature.

Home Accents Holiday, a Home Depot house brand, is generally oriented toward inexpensive, less-realistic trees. Its 7.5-foot Dunhill Fir Unlit model was our former budget pick, and it looked nice once strung with lights and decorations despite having no realistic needles. But we no longer recommend inexpensive trees of this sort, as they tend to wear out within a few years and need replacement—adding to your out-of-pocket costs as well as the environmental cost of producing fake trees.

There are many, many more competitors than what we describe here. If you can’t find one of our picks or a comparable tree from the makers listed here, you can still get an excellent tree—use the criteria we outline in How we picked, especially regarding branch-tip count, material, and lighting. Once trees are fluffed, lit, and decorated, they can all look great in their own way.

On fake trees, real trees, and harming the environment

Between artificial and live trees, which is greener? You might not be surprised to learn that within the industry there’s no consensus answer—the American Christmas Tree Association and the National Christmas Tree Association, which represent the artificial-tree and live-tree industries, respectively, both claim the “greener” title.

But the definitive 2007 study on the subject gave the edge firmly to live trees, finding that an artificial tree would have to be used for 20 years before its carbon impact fell below that of buying a live tree annually over the same timeframe. A more recent look at the topic reached similar conclusions.

Artificial trees are manufactured mostly in China, where environmental laws tend to be less stringent. In addition, the study did not take into account the environmental cost of producing the raw materials—steel and plastics—that the trees are made of, nor the cost of shipping them across the ocean, noted Travis Wagner, professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at the University of Southern Maine. Lastly, artificial trees cannot be recycled because it’s too difficult to separate the various materials, so they wind up in landfills when they reach the end of their working lives.

Live trees can be sustainably farmed and harvested, they absorb carbon while growing, and they provide some measure of wildlife habitat. Although live-tree farms do contribute to the consequences of fertilizer and pesticide use, they add value to land that might otherwise be valuable only to developers. At the end of their lives, live trees can be “recycled” in a number of ways, such as by being turned into mulch, used to stabilize sand dunes, or even submerged in lakes to create fish habitat.

It’s worth noting—as the 2007 study did—that simply driving a gas-powered car a few hundred miles produces more greenhouse gases than producing a typical artificial Christmas tree. So compared with the cumulative environmental cost of everyday activities and consumption, your fake tree isn’t much more than a blip. Still, taking care of it and extending its life is a way to minimize its environmental impact.

The facts on lead in PVC tree parts

Lead serves as a stabilizer in some forms of PVC. The one serious study (PDF) we’ve seen on artificial Christmas trees, published in 2004 in the Journal of Environmental Health, found that the lead levels and risk of lead exposure were generally very low, and well below federal guidelines at the time; a few models were outliers, however, and one slightly exceeded the federal limits. Lead exposure occurred in two ways: direct contact with the branches—as may occur when people are setting the trees up and decorating them—and contact with PVC dust beneath the tree, the result of physical decomposition of the “pine needles,” a particular concern for crawling infants. Significantly, new trees (new in 2004, that is) generally showed much lower levels of lead than trees manufactured in the 1980s and 1990s. The authors concluded that while the proportion of trees made with lead-stabilized PVC had “decreased only modestly” in the 20 years preceding 2004, “the amount of lead stabilizer used has apparently been reduced to a much larger extent,” suggesting a long-term trend toward low-lead or lead-free artificial trees.

We raised our concerns with the American Christmas Tree Association, which stated in response that leaded PVC is no longer used at all in its members’ products. We also asked National Tree Company about its products specifically, and representatives confirmed that the company uses entirely lead-free PVC. We have no reason to doubt those claims, but since no federal standards or tests for artificial-tree materials exist, we have no independent data to confirm or contradict them, either. In general, it seems wise to wash your hands after setting up and decorating your artificial tree, as well as to prevent kids and pets from playing underneath it or (obviously) chewing on the branches. But the risk of lead exposure from a contemporary artificial Christmas tree is likely to be minimal to nonexistent.

About your guide

Tim Heffernan

Tim Heffernan is a senior staff writer at Wirecutter and a former writer-editor for The Atlantic, Esquire, and others. He has anchored our unequaled coverage of air purifiers and water filters since 2015. In 2018, he established Wirecutter’s ongoing collaboration with The New York Times’s Smarter Living. When he’s not here, he’s on his bike.

Further reading

  • Christmas Decorating Supplies to Deck the Halls, Walls, Porch, and More

    by Harry Sawyers

    Between the tree, the lights, tools, and accessories, we’ve got your home-decoration needs covered this Christmas.

  • The Best Christmas Lights

    by Doug Mahoney and Thom Dunn

    Our recommendations for indoor, outdoor, LED, and incandescent Christmas lights.

  • How to Keep Pets Safe From Your Holiday Decor

    by Kaitlyn Wells

    ’Tis the season for sparkling lights, tinsel, and trees—these tips will help you ensure your holiday decor is pet-proof.

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11 Best Artificial Christmas Trees of 2022

If you grew up decorating a real Christmas tree each year — maybe you even cut it down yourself at the nearest tree farm — the thought of going fake can feel like sacrilege. But homeowners who make the switch often get over the nostalgia faster than Santa up the chimney with a nod.

For starters, you don’t have to fork over $78 each year (the going rate for a real tree according to the American Christmas Tree Association). Your synthetic spruce or fake Douglas fir will pay for itself in a few years! You won’t have to worry about watering your Christmas tree to keep it fresh or vacuuming up pine needles. Fake trees are also less of a fire hazard, and they can be better for the environment, provided you hang on to them for at least a decade. To do that, you’ll need to choose a tree that is made to last — and looks the part with a pleasant shape and convincing needles.

The experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute have been rigorously testing artificial Christmas trees for more than 15 years, and we've seen plenty of duds on the market. But with more homeowners making the switch, fake trees continue to improve in looks and longevity. Even better, you'll find a ton of great deals cropping up on Amazon Prime Day, including trees marked down at half the price. Here are the best artificial Christmas trees for 2022, based on our latest tests.

SHOP ALL AMAZON PRIME DAY CHRISTMAS DEALS

  • 1

    Best Overall Artificial Christmas Tree

    Vermont White Spruce Balsam Hill

    $999 AT BALSAM HILL

    Read More

    $999 AT BALSAM HILL

  • 2

    Best Value Artificial Christmas Tree

    Carolina Pine Tree National Tree Company

    $346 AT AMAZON

    Read More

    $346 AT AMAZON

  • 3

    Best Realistic Artificial Christmas Tree

    BH Balsam Fir Balsam Hill

    $899 AT BALSAM HILL

    Read More

    $899 AT BALSAM HILL

  • 4

    Best Unlit Artificial Christmas Tree

    Premium Spruce Artificial Holiday Christmas Tree Best Choice Products

    $100 AT AMAZON

    Read More

    $100 AT AMAZON

  • 5

    Best Compact Artificial Christmas Tree

    Fraser Fir Pencil Artificial Christmas Tree Puleo International

    $125 AT AMAZON

    Read More

    $125 AT AMAZON

  • 6

    Best Slim Artificial Christmas Tree

    Kingswood Fir Artificial Slim Christmas Tree National Tree Company

    $104 AT AMAZON

    Read More

    $104 AT AMAZON

  • 7

    Top-Selling Artificial Christmas Tree on Wayfair

    Jack 6. 5' Green Fir Artificial Christmas Tree The Twillery Co.

    $193 AT WAYFAIR

    Read More

    $193 AT WAYFAIR

  • 8

    Best Tall Artificial Christmas Tree

    Dunhill Fir Artificial Full Christmas Tree National Tree Company

    $674 AT AMAZON

    Read More

    $674 AT AMAZON

  • 9

    Best Artificial Christmas Tree With Multi-Colored Lights

    7-Foot Artificial Christmas Pine Tree Best Choice

    $130 AT AMAZON

    Read More

    $130 AT AMAZON

  • 10

    Best No-Frills Artificial Christmas Tree

    Premium Hinged Artificial Pine Tree Best Choice Products

    $65 AT AMAZON

    Read More

    $65 AT AMAZON

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After reading more about our top picks, learn more about how we test artificial Christmas trees and what to keep in mind while shopping for one. Score even more deals by keeping an eye on all the early Black Friday Christmas tree sales, too.

      1

      Best Overall Artificial Christmas Tree

      Balsam Hill

      Vermont White Spruce

      Basalm Hill

      Now 20% off

      $999 AT BALSAM HILL

      Product Details
      Sizes 4.5 feet-18 feet
      Light Options Color + clear LED, unlit, specialty
      Included Accessories Tree stand, storage bag, extra lights, fluffing gloves
      Listed Materials PVC and polyethylene (PE)

      2

      Best Value Artificial Christmas Tree

      National Tree Company

      Carolina Pine Tree

      National Tree Company

      Product Details
      Sizes 5. 5 feet-7.5 feet
      Light Options Clear
      Included Accessories Tree stand
      Listed Material PVC

      3

      Best Realistic Artificial Christmas Tree

      Balsam Hill

      BH Balsam Fir

      Balsam Hill

      Now 22% off

      $899 AT BALSAM HILL

      Product Details
      Sizes 5.5 feet-12 feet
      Light Options Clear LED, color + clear lED, unlit, clear, specialty
      Included Accessories Tree stand, storage bag, extra lights, fluffing gloves
      Listed Materials PVC and polyethylene (PE)

      4

      Best Unlit Artificial Christmas Tree

      Best Choice Products

      Premium Spruce Artificial Holiday Christmas Tree

      Best Choice Products

      $100 AT AMAZON

      Product Details
      Sizes 6 feet-9 feet
      Light Options Unlit
      Included Accessories Tree stand
      Listed Materials PVC, Metal

      5

      Best Compact Artificial Christmas Tree

      Puleo International

      Fraser Fir Pencil Artificial Christmas Tree

      Puleo

      Product Details
      Sizes 4. 5 feet-10 feet
      Light Options Clear incandescent
      Included Accessories Tree stand, storage bag, fluffing gloves
      Listed Material Other (likely PVC)

      6

      Best Slim Artificial Christmas Tree

      National Tree Company

      Kingswood Fir Artificial Slim Christmas Tree

      National Tree Company

      Product Details
      Sizes 6.5 feet-7.5 feet
      Light Options None
      Included Accessories Stand
      Listed Materials PVC, metal

      7

      Top-Selling Artificial Christmas Tree on Wayfair

      The Twillery Co.

      Jack 6. 5' Green Fir Artificial Christmas Tree

      Sand and Stable

      $193 AT WAYFAIR

      Product Details
      Sizes 7 feet
      Light Options Unlit
      Included Accessories Stand
      Lited Materials PVC and metal

      8

      Best Tall Artificial Christmas Tree

      National Tree Company

      Dunhill Fir Artificial Full Christmas Tree

      National Tree Company

      Product Details
      Sizes 4 feet-14 feet
      Light Options Unlit
      Included Accessories Stand
      Listed Materials PVC

      9

      Best Artificial Christmas Tree With Multi-Colored Lights

      Best Choice

      7-Foot Artificial Christmas Pine Tree

      best choice products

      $130 AT AMAZON

      Product Details
      Sizes 7 feet
      Light Options Multi-color LED
      Included Accessories Stand
      Listed Materials PVC

      10

      Best No-Frills Artificial Christmas Tree

      Best Choice Products

      Premium Hinged Artificial Pine Tree

      Best Choice Products

      $65 AT AMAZON

      Product Details
      Sizes 6 feet
      Light Options None
      Included Accessories None listed
      Listed Materials PVC

      11

      Best White Artificial Christmas Tree

      National Tree Company

      Winchester White Pine Artificial Tree

      National Tree Company

      Product Details
      Sizes 7 feet
      Light Options White
      Included Accessories Stand
      Listed Materials PVC

      How we test artificial Christmas trees

      The engineers at the Good Housekeeping Institute first set up artificial trees to see how easy they are to construct and shape, including how long it takes and how easy it is to take the tree out of the box, open it up and fluff up the branches.

      Once set up, we assess how realistic the tree looks. We look at flame retardancy using our flammability chamber. We verify durability by performing our own in-Lab checks for stability including tip-over tests.

      We also look at any ASTM conformance testing for characteristics like corrosion resistance and tension. For any pre-lit trees, verify that the tree is appropriately UL listed for safety. We assess how easy it is to light the tree and how evenly distributed the lights are. And when we're done with all of that, we assess how easy it is to disassemble the tree and put it into storage.

      Jillian Sollazzo

      Here, our tester is using a force gauge to determine the amount of force it would take to knock over the Christmas tree.

      What to look for when shopping for an artificial Christmas tree

      Aside from ensuring the look lives up to your expectations, there are a host of other features to consider when deciding which faux tree best suits you:

      ✔️ Size: While you likely want to go big with your tree, you want to ensure you will be able to set it up with enough clearance in your home. Ideally, you should keep at least 6 inches between the top of the tree (including any topper) and your ceiling. Trees can vary tremendously in size, from a small 4.5-foot tree to one that towers above 15 feet.

      ✔️ Shape: Artificial Christmas trees range from compact (for tight spaces) to full (for a classic tree profile) to wide (for an even fuller profile). While your choice largely comes down to space and preference, definitely check that the widest point of the tree will readily fit in your space.

      ✔️ Needle Type: Most brands use PVC to simulate needles and metal for the trunk and branches. Some will include both PVC and polyethylene (PE), and in general, those with a higher percentage of PE tend to look more realistic but are more expensive.

      ✔️ Tree type: As noted, artificial Christmas trees have come a far way in recent years to look more realistic. You can opt for a tree that mimics a fir (dense), spruce (sharp points) or pine (sparser with thin needles).

      ✔️ Ease of setup: Artificial Christmas trees are compressed to allow for shipping, so it's important to fluff the branches once assembled. Today, most can be assembled by snapping together a few segments to get an erect tree. The fluffing often takes the most time to ensure the tree has a full appearance.

      ✔️ Pre-lit vs. unlit: Many artificial Christmas trees today come pre-lit, making them easier to decorate. Plus, many newer Christmas trees have the ability to stay lit even when one bulb goes out. It's advantageous to look for this feature if you are getting a pre-lit tree. The bulb type varies, and incandescent bulbs still tend to be more affordable than their longer-lasting LED counterparts. Some specialty LED trees can even be customized for color or lighting effects.

      ✔️ Safety: Look for pre-lit trees that have undergone third-party testing from Underwriters Laboratories (UL) to ensure they have passed safety checks. You can check the UL database or look to see if the packaging has the UL logo.

      ✔️ Durability: There are various industry standards that look at the durability of the tree, including ASTM B117 (corrosion test) and ASTM F963 (child safety testing).

      Why trust Good Housekeeping?

      While she's never had a Christmas tree, real or fake, in her own home, Rachel Rothman has been testing artificial Christmas trees for Good Housekeeping for nearly 15 years, so she's become an expert at assembly and review. She has assembled dozens of them, set them on fire, attempted to tip them over and validated claims for them.

      Rachel Rothman Chief Technologist & Executive Technical Director Rachel Rothman (she/her) is the chief technologist and executive technical director at the Good Housekeeping Institute, where she oversees testing methodology, implementation and reporting for all GH Labs.

      Dan DiClerico Home Improvement & Outdoor Director Having written thousands of product reviews and how-to articles on all aspects of home ownership, from routine maintenance to major renovations, Dan (he/him) brings more than 20 years of industry experience to his role as the director of the Home Improvement & Outdoor Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute.

      Trees of the Urals: photos and species names

      The species composition of the Ural flora includes both representatives from Europe and Siberia. This page contains a small list of species: deciduous and coniferous trees of the Urals, photos, names and brief descriptions. They grow wild or are species used in landscaping city streets. Among them there are trees that are found everywhere in the Northern, Middle and Southern Urals, as well as species that live in a limited area. Some are recognizable and familiar even to children, such as mountain ash, birch, the definition of others will cause difficulty even for adults. It is worth noting that often under the name of spruce, birch, or something else, not one species is hidden, but two or more.

      Siberian larch - Larix sibirica

      Tall tree up to 30 m tall, often used in landscaping. Soft needles falling for the winter (narrow-linear leaves) are located on shortened shoots in bunches. Cones are egg-shaped, 2-4 cm long and 2-3 cm wide. Young cones are reddish.

      Larch .

      Scots pine - Pinus silvestris

      Widespread in the forest and forest-steppe zones, including the Northern, Middle and Southern Urals. Tree up to 35 m tall, often bred in forest plantations. Lateral shoots are arranged in whorls, age can be calculated by the number of whorls. The bark is light, reddish brown. The higher, the more yellow. On the branches it peels off and peels off in sheets. Paired needles.

      In the photo on the left is a shoot with a mature female cone, on the right - with a male.

      Siberian cedar (Siberian cedar pine) - Pinus sibirica

      Powerful sprawling tree up to 30 m, distributed in the Northern and Middle Urals. It can be found in cultivation in forest plantations and settlements. The needles are dark green, growing in bunches of 5 pieces. It is from this tree that pine nuts are obtained.

      Cedar pine is also called cedar.

      Norway spruce (European) - Picea excelsa

      Widely distributed throughout Europe, grows in the western regions of the Cis-Urals. Needles 2–3 cm long sit densely on the shoots, not adjacent to them, but rising. Upon closer inspection, you can see their tetrahedral shape. Mature cones, unlike pine, are hanging, elongated-ovoid, 10-16 cm long.

      Norway spruce and E. Siberian (right).

      Siberian spruce - Picea obovata

      This species is a common representative of the Siberian flora and can be seen in the east of the Trans-Urals. The tree is similar to E. ordinary and differs from it in cones. In the Siberian they are cylindrical and shorter, up to 9cm in length.

      Ural spruce

      This type of tree means a variety of common spruce - Picea excels var. Uralensis, in some sources the name Middle Spruce - P.oxima is found, as an intermediate species between Siberian and European. Many experts describe the Ural spruce as a hybrid of European and Siberian. The species grows in the foothills and on the western slopes of the Urals, cones 5–10 cm long. Otherwise, it is similar to the previous species.

      Siberian fir - Abies sibirica

      Common coniferous tree for the Middle and Northern Urals. In forests it forms a mixture with spruce. In contrast, the needles on the shoots are located in the same plane and are softer. The young bark, not like spruce, is smooth, with resinous nodules. The resin has a characteristic odour.

      Trunk and shoot of Siberian fir found in the Urals.

      Winding birch - Betula tortuosa

      Distributed in the Ural mountains. A short tree with yellowish bark, on the mountain peaks it looks like a gnarled shrub, which, apparently, gave rise to the name. The leaves are unequal-toothed, without pubescence, rhombic-ovate in shape.

      As you can see from the photo. The name given to the tree is not accidental. The trunk of this birch is really winding.

      Warty birch - Betula verrucosa

      Grows from the Northern Urals to the Southern. Shoots are long, hanging down, have warts. Among the trees of the Urals, one of the most beautiful.

      On the left, if you look closely, the photo shows that the shoot is pubescent. Warts are visible on the right side of the branch. Now it is clear. where the birch is fluffy, and where it is warty.

      Downy birch - Betula pubescens

      A distinctive feature of this species of birch is the surface of young shoots is downy, without warts. Young leaves are also pubescent. The species is widespread in the forest and forest-steppe zone, often forming hybrids with warty birch.

      Blood-red hawthorn – Crataegus sanguinea

      Tall shrub or tree up to 6 m. The leaves are slightly lobed, serrated along the edge, dull green above. Shoots are brown, shiny, with spines 2.5 - 4 cm long. White flowers in a corymbose inflorescence, orange or red fruits. Widely distributed, especially in the Middle Trans-Urals.

      Common hawthorn - Crataegus oxyacantha

      One of the oldest cultivated tree species, found everywhere on the streets of the Ural settlements. Unlike the previous species - B. blood-red, the spines are thinner and shorter (1–2 cm), the fruits are red.

      Blood red hawthorn (left) and B. common.

      Maximowicz hawthorn – Crataegus Maximowiczii

      Leaves pubescent, velvety below. The plant is a tree up to 6 m high. Its range is Eastern Siberia and the Far East, but occasionally the species can also be found in the Urals.

      Maksimovich's hawthorn is rare in the Urals

      Smooth elm - Ulmus laevis

      Up to 25 m tall woody plant, distributed in the Western and Southern Urals. On the floodplains of the rivers passes into the Trans-Urals. Elm smooth can often be seen in the green spaces of settlements. The leaves are asymmetrical, with an unequal base, oval or obovate in shape. The surface of the leaf blade is glabrous or slightly hairy. The fruit is a round or oval lionfish with a nut in the middle, on a long pedicel.

      Rough elm (elm) - Ulmus scabra

      Grows in forests and floodplains of the Cis-Urals and mountainous Urals on fertile soils. It differs from the smooth elm in that the leaves are rough with hairs, as its name indicates. Young shoots and petioles are densely pubescent.

      Ugly elm and rough elm (pictured right).

      Pedunculate oak – Quercus robur

      Leaves 7 – 15 cm long, with rounded ends, lapped pairs, with 6 – 15 cm The cuts between the blades are quite deep, about a quarter of the width of the entire sheet. Petioles are short, no more than 1 cm. Oak forests can be found in the Southern Urals in the west of the Chelyabinsk region.

      Oaks are often used for landscaping cities; in the Urals, oak groves are found only in its southern part.

      Brittle willow - Salix fragilis

      This species is cultivated throughout the Urals. The trunk is thick, the crown is spreading. The leaves are matte, lanceolate or linear-lanceolate, often elongated at the top into a curved point, 6–9 cm long. The color is dark green above, the surface is gray-gray below.

      Brittle willow tree and leaf close-up.

      Russian willow – Salix rossica

      Multi-stemmed tree or tall shrub with twig-like rather brittle branches. The leaves are elongated, lanceolate, dark or gray-green above, with sparse hairs. There are many hairs below, which makes the lower surface of the leaves appear silvery. Often found in the floodplains of the Ural rivers at the very edge of the water. Forms hybrids with other types of willows, so their identification is difficult. There are also many species of willows, which are a life form - a shrub.

      This is what Russian willow looks like.

      Ash-leaved maple - Acer negundo

      The native land of the species is North America. However, the tree is widely used for landscaping throughout the Urals, due to its rapid growth and unpretentiousness. The leaves are compound, each consists of 3 - 5, less often 7 leaflets. Characteristic fruits are paired lionfish.

      Autumn and spring maple with staminate inflorescences (right)

      Heart-shaped linden – Tilia cordata

      A common tree of the Ural forests, grows in large numbers in the southern part of the Perm region and in Bashkiria. Widely used in landscaping. Leaves are heart-shaped. A distinctive feature of this particular type of linden is the red hairs in the corners of the veins and the absence of a pronounced peak at the top of the leaf blade. However, one can be sure that it is the heart-shaped linden that is found in the forests in the Urals, since other types of lindens are bred here only in parks and botanical gardens.

      The leaves look like hearts. On the left is a flowering plant, on the right are the leaves of a tree in autumn.

      Alder buckthorn (brittle) - Frangula alnus

      Tree or tall shrub with oval or obovate leaves on short petioles. The bark is black, the flowers are small, greenish. The fruit is a black drupe with 2 flattened yellowish seeds inside. It lives throughout the Urals except for the Far North.

      Branch with fruits and branch with flowers and young leaves.

      Black alder – Alnus glutinosa

      Occurs infrequently in river floodplains. It is easy to distinguish an alder by fruits-knobs. Young leaves of black alder are sticky, cut or notched at the top, dark green, glabrous. In the corners of the veins on the leaf blade, you can see red warts. Lateral veins on the sheet - 5 - 8. The trunk with dark brown bark.

      Black alder and gray alder are very similar.

      Gray alder - Alnus incana

      Distributed everywhere: on the edges, in meadows on soils of medium moisture and fertility. Unlike black alder, young leaves are not sticky, there are 8–10 lateral veins on a leaf. Leaves are sometimes pubescent below. The bark of the tree is light grey.

      Aspen - Populus tremula

      The leaves are characterized by the presence of long thin petioles, which is why the leaves of the aspen always flutter even in a light wind. The shape of the leaf blade is rounded, the edge is notched-toothed. The bark is smooth, green-gray. The species forms pure stands, but is more common in mixed forests with spruce.

      Aspen, a relative of poplar, its inflorescences are catkins. Leaves turn yellow or red in autumn.

      Sorbus aucuparia

      In the forests of the Urals grows everywhere, planted in cities. Some dendrologists separate the eastern variety into a separate species - Siberian mountain ash. Nevezhinskaya mountain ash is known - a variety of ordinary with sweet fruits. Leaflets composed of complex non-pinnate leaves are dull green above, grayish below. The tree reaches 12 m in height.

      Sorbus ordinary - this Ural tree is known even to children.

      White poplar - Populus alba

      It can be seen in the floodplains of many Ural rivers, in the cities this tree species was traditionally planted for landscaping. The crown, if not cut, is wide and spreading, the height of the tree is up to 30 m, the bark is gray, smooth, dark and cracking in old specimens. The shape of the leaves is ovate-triangular, sometimes rounded.

      White poplar shoot. Pay attention to the triangular outlines of the leaves.

      Black Poplar (Populus nigra)

      Strong specimens can reach 30 m in height and 1.5 m in diameter. Grows in the floodplains of the rivers Kama, Ufa, Ural. The leaves are dark shiny above, paler below, the edges are finely serrated. Shoots are round in cross section, yellowish in color. Old trunks with dark thick bark. It has a spreading crown, often used in landscaping.

      Black poplar.

      Sad poplar Populus tristis

      A native of Central Asia, often bred in the Middle Urals and in central Russia. A small tree has large leaves up to 12 cm long and 5 cm wide, leathery and thick. The color is dark green above, whitish underside. Shoots are even, without growths, cylindrical. The kidneys are very large (2-3 cm), sticky.

      Fragrant poplar - Populus suaveolens

      Homeland - Eastern Siberia, bred in the settlements of the Urals. The leaves are pointed at the top, broadly elliptical, finely serrated or entire. A characteristic feature is very aromatic buds. The crown, unlike black and white poplars, is narrow, sometimes pyramidal. The bark is yellow-green.

      Fragrant poplar

      Balsam poplar - Populus Balsamifera

      This species imported from North America is widely distributed in cultivation throughout the Urals. The shoots are slightly angular, brownish-green, the shoots are dark and ribbed. The crown is spreading. Young leaves are sticky. The leaves are dark green above, shiny, slightly paler below, with a finely serrated edge.

      Balsam poplar.

      Bird cherry - Padus racemose

      Usually grows wild on well-moistened fertile soils in floodplains, lowlands, meadows. The leaves are elliptical in shape with a sharp apex. Above dark green, wrinkled. Characterized by black fruits with an astringent taste.

      The flowers of bird cherry are smaller than those of forest apple.

      Forest apple tree - Malus silvestris

      Reaches a height of 7 m, grows wild in the forest and forest-steppe zones of the European part of Russia. Occasionally cultivated in the Southern Urals and in the Urals. The species is considered one of the ancestors of the domestic apple tree.

      American ash - Fraxinus Americana

      Another native of North America. Occasionally found in urban green spaces. The leaves are dark green above, glossy, rarely serrated along the edge, glabrous, without pubescence.

      American ash

      Pennsylvania ash - Fraxinus pennsylvanica

      This fast-growing winter-hardy tree, also of North American origin, is widely distributed in the landscaping of Russian cities, including the Urals. Unlike the previous species, the leaves are lighter, more thin and have pubescence of hairs along the petioles and veins.

      Pennsylvania ash is often found on the streets of Ural cities. The photo shows that the tree has complex leaves that turn yellow in autumn.

      Trees characteristic of the Southern Urals

      In the Southern Urals, taking into account the diversity of relief and soils, uneven precipitation, there are a variety of tree species. Therefore, the following biocenoses are found here:
      • Mountain tundra.
      • Taiga from spruce and fir.
      • Pine-larch forests.
      • Mixed coniferous-broad-leaved biocenoses.
      • Broad-leaved forests.
      In the forests, trees are common: spruce, pine, larch, birch, aspen, linden, mountain ash, in the extreme west - maple, elm, oak, etc. In the Southern Urals, dark coniferous forests stretch along the slopes of the mountains. Large massifs dominated by spruce and fir are found in the vicinity of Zlatoust, Katav-Ivanovsky and Satkinsky districts of the Chelyabinsk region. Light coniferous forests, represented by pine and larch, are quite widespread, for example, near Miass, Upper Ufaley, Karabash. Spruces, firs, pines and larches are also characteristic of other regions of the Ural mountainous country, their description and photos are given in the article above.
      Speaking of coniferous-deciduous and broad-leaved forests in the Urals, we can say that they are typical only for its southern part. Groves with a predominance of elm are not often found in the South Ural mountains along the slopes. In the European part of the Chelyabinsk region, maple, lime and black alder forests also grow, which, along with oak and elm groves in the eastern part of the region, are classified as relic forests.

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      Fir trees

      In the pre-New Year's fuss, running past the Christmas tree bazaars, I have been anxiously noticing among our native Christmas trees (from specialized nurseries) among our native Christmas trees (from specialized nurseries) their distant relatives - fir, mainly Caucasian fir and foreigner white fir.



      Fir trees are similar in appearance to spruce trees, have the same crown structure, in the form of a pyramid with one trunk - an axis and tiered branches. However, even from a distance, these conifers can be distinguished with confidence if the cones are visible. Young female spruce cones (megastrobiles before pollination) are directed upwards, after fertilization they eventually turn 180 degrees - and already hang down - a picture familiar to everyone. When the seeds ripen, the scales of the cones open, the seeds slip out of the spruce cones under their own gravity. But in fir, the cones remain directed upwards, when the seeds ripen, the cone simply crumbles, the seeds scatter, and “candles” from the columns (axes) from the cones remain on the branches. And then, from afar - with the help of binoculars, having seen the cones or their axes sticking up, we can confidently say that we are seeing a fir.

      Being close to a tree and having the opportunity to touch the needles, knowing their characteristics, it is also impossible to confuse these conifers. Fir needles are flattened (dihedral), stomatal strips are located on the underside of the needle leaf. Through the stomata, fir, like all higher plants, both breathes and releases oxygen. They are clearly visible under low magnification, and to the naked eye, the stomatal stripes are visible due to the wax coating that refracts light, and from which the stomatal stripes appear white. Accordingly, spruce needles are most often tetrahedral, stomatal rows are located on all four faces and do not differ in such a bright wax coating as in firs (except for spruces from the Omorica section).

      The tip of the fir needles most often has a notch (with the exception of some species with needles pointed like those of spruce), and the base of the needles, its attachment to the shoot (branch) of fir and spruce is different. The needles of fir are attached to the base of the needle-leaf, which is disk-shaped, expanded like a sucker, so when it falls off (the needles live for several years, not forever), a round mark remains on the shoot.

      In spruce, the needle leaf is located on the outgrowth of the shoot bark (according to science - on a leaf cushion with an outgrowth), therefore, when the needles fall off, the spruce twig becomes rough from these outgrowths.

      The genus Abies includes more than 50 species, of which 8 species are found in the wild in Russia, 3 of which are protected in nature reserves, 10-15 more foreign species can be cultivated.

      Nordmann fir, or Caucasian (A.nordmanniana) - powerful, very beautiful tree up to 50-60 m in height, characterized by very rapid growth, persisting to a ripe old age, and lives up to 800 years, and such giants die not under the severity of years, but from the consequences of lesions by fungi and insects. In nature, it forms forests in the Caucasus Mountains at an altitude of 1200-1700 m, it is also a forest-forming species in northeastern Turkey. Needles up to 4 cm long, buds are not resinous. In culture, it sometimes suffers from late spring frosts. At the age of 17 years - 1.65 m in height (according to the GBS RAS), in the arboretum of Moscow State University it reaches 10 m in height by the age of 37.

      Siberian fir (A.sibirica) distributed in the northeastern regions of the European part of Russia, in the Urals, in Siberia, in the Altai mountains, in the Sayans, Transbaikalia, in the mountains it rises to the upper forest line (2000 m above sea level) , rarely forms pure stands. It is also a large tree up to 30-40 m tall, but, unlike Caucasian fir, it is more winter-hardy due to weak evaporation of moisture in winter and resinous buds. However, Siberian fir is very sensitive to air pollution and stagnant soil moisture. The root system, although deep, is poorly developed, with almost absent root hairs - their function is performed by the mycorrhiza of the fungus. In nature, the lower branches, in contact with the soil, take root, giving numerous layering, which, losing contact with the mother plant, grow for a long time in the form of elfin. Siberian fir lives only up to 150-200 years, as it is usually affected by root rot quite early. The needles are narrow, 2-3 cm long. In the arboretum of Moscow State University, 52-year-old specimens reach a height of 20-25 m. It is used in landscaping in Moscow.

      Semenov fir (A.semenovii) was named after the explorer of Central Asia P.P. Semenov-Tyan-Shansky. This tree is over 30 m tall, found in the mountains of Central and East Asia (Talas Alatau, Chatkal and Ferghana Ranges) - in the mountains along slopes and shady gorges at an altitude of 1350 to 2800 m above sea level. seas, in mixed forests. It differs from the Siberian fir close to it, which lives in Altai, in longer needles (up to 4 cm long). In nature, in high-mountain fir forests at the age of 100-300 years, it has a height of no more than 15 m. In a culture at 26 years old, it is 2.8 m high, grows slowly, with an annual growth of 3-5 cm (GBS RAS).

      A. nephrolepis , ecologically close to Siberian fir, grows in the Far East (Sikhote-Alin, Bureya, Sakhalin), in Northern China, Korea in mountain forests, usually mixed with spruce Ayan. This tree is slightly smaller, up to 25 (30) m tall. Needles 1-2 cm long, resinous buds. In culture, at 32 years old, it reaches 11.4 m in height (GBS RAS), in the arboretum of Moscow State University, specimens at 52 reach m in height. It is winter-hardy, grows rapidly (annual growth is 25 cm), is demanding on air and soil moisture, lives up to 150-180 years, despite the fact that from the age of 15-20 it becomes ill with wood rot.

      Whole-leaved fir (A. holophylla) larger tree, up to 45 m tall. The needles are up to 4 cm long, wide, strong, with a prickly top, resinous buds. In nature, it is found in the south of Primorsky Krai, in the mountains of China and Korea, where it usually grows together with Korean pine and broad-leaved species, climbing mountain slopes to a height of 500 m above sea level. The first 10 years it grows slowly, then growth increases dramatically and surpasses many conifers in growth rates. Winter-hardy, but demanding on the richness and moisture of the soil and air. Lives 300-400 years. In the collection of the GBS RAS at the age of 30, it has a height of 8 m.

      Mayra fir (A.mayriana) is found in the Far East (in the south of Sakhalin) and East Asia, in the mountains together with coniferous and broad-leaved species. Under natural conditions, trees reach 35 m in height, under conditions of cultivation at 32 years old - 11.3 m (GBS RAS). Needles up to 2.5 cm long.

      Islander - Sakhalin, Kuriles - Sakhalin fir (A. sachalinensis) - tall tree up to 40 m tall, the main forest-forming species. In the mountains it occurs at an altitude of 400 to 1100 m, in the lower forest zone it grows in a mixture with other coniferous and broad-leaved species, occasionally forming pure forests. Needles up to 3.5 cm long, resinous buds. More demanding on heat, high humidity and soil richness than Siberian fir, wood is less susceptible to rot. Representatives of this species are rarely found in the collections of botanical gardens, and are practically not used in landscaping. At the age of 25, it reaches 12 m in height, has an annual growth of up to 20 cm (according to the GBS RAS).

      Close view - elegant fir (A.gracilis) distributed in Kamchatka, where it grows in a single place (Eden), forming a grove of 15 hectares, near the Semyachik River among stone birches. The height of trees in nature does not exceed 13-15 m, and the diameter of the trunks is 20 cm. In the collection of the GBS RAS at the age of 23, it has a height of 4. 6 m, it grows slowly - 5-7 cm annual growth.

      Inostranka Korean fir (A.koreana) is a slow-growing fir, reaching 18 m in height, naturally found in the south of Korea in the mountains at an altitude of 1000 to 1850 m above sea level, where it forms pure or mixed forests. The needles are dark green, 1-3 cm long. It attracts attention with lilac-violet cones that appear on young plants, at the age of 10 it reaches 2 m. Often, in old Korean fir, the crown diameter is larger than the height of the tree. Height at 23 - 2.9m (GBS RAS).

      Wicha Fir (A.veitchii) is one of the most decorative firs, originally from Japan. Tree up to 25 (30) m tall, soft needles, noticeably curved, up to 2.5 cm long. Winter-hardy, characterized by rapid growth in youth, more resistant to smoke and gases than other species, but demanding on light and soil fertility. In culture conditions at 39 years old, it has a height of 12.5 m (GBS RAS).

      Equal scale fir (A. homolepis) grows in Japan in the mountains, in natural conditions it has a height of 40 m. It has been known in Russia since the end of the 19th century on the Black Sea coast. Under culture conditions in Moscow at the age of 12 years, it has a height of 1.65 m (GBS RAS). Needles 2-3 cm long, resinous buds.
      Strong or hard fir (A.firma) - the most majestic tree in Japan, reaching 50 m in height, in European conditions it grows no more than 20 m, in cultivation it can be seen in the humid subtropical regions of Transcaucasia (Sochi, Sukhumi). At home, it is bred at temples and parks, grown in the form of dwarf trees.

      Of the European firs in the conditions of Central Russia, white fir (A.alba) feels best, it is also European or comb. This is a large tree with a powerful trunk up to 65 m in height; in adulthood, the crown can be flattened (flat-topped). Named for the silver-gray color of the bark. In nature, it is a forest-forming species, this is a typical tree of coniferous forests in Central Europe, in France, in the Balkan Mountains, often dominates at an altitude of 400-900 m, lives up to 200-300 years. Needles up to 3 cm long, buds are not resinous. This breed is sensitive to air pollution and acid precipitation. In the landscaping of Moscow is absent. It grows slowly, at 10 years old it reaches 2 m in height, in the arboretum of Moscow State University at the age of 38 it has a height of 16 m, forms cones.

      Very interesting are the Mediterranean firs, closely associated with ancient history, - Greek fir (A.cephalonica) - a tree up to 30 m high, a forest-forming species at high altitudes in the mountains of Greece. A feature is the location of the needles on the branches - uniform around the shoot. Needles up to 2.5 cm long. A variety of this fir, which is also called Parnassus fir, according to legend, gave wood for the construction of the famous Trojan horse. Another beauty - Spanish fir (A. pinsapo) - occurs naturally in the limestone mountains of southern Spain at an altitude of 2000 m above sea level. It has hard prickly needles up to 1. 5 cm long, densely arranged in a spiral. The tree reaches a height of 25 m. These heat-loving species can be seen in arboretums in the south - in Sochi, Crimea.

      Balsam fir (A.balsamea) is the most common fir in North America, growing in Canada and up to the state of Virginia (USA), on the plains, in the east it reaches the tundra, where it forms dwarf-type thickets. It often grows in low places and near water bodies, occurring both in the form of pure fir forests (in swamps) and in mixtures with other coniferous and deciduous species. This is a slender tree up to 15-25 m tall, with dark green, fragrant needles up to 2.5 cm long and resinous buds. The bark of young trees has unusually large resinous knobs that secrete a resin known under the trade name "Canadian balsam", used in medicine and microscopic technology. Lives in nature for 150-200 years, but in the lowlands at the age of 50-60 years it is usually affected by rot. An exceptionally frost-resistant breed, used in cultivation in gardens and parks throughout the forest zone of the European part of Russia, but is unsuitable for southern regions with a dry climate and soils. In culture, at the age of 14, it reaches a height of 6 m, in the arboretum of Moscow State University, at the age of 56, it has a height of 15-20 m.

      Fraser fir (A.fraseri) also native to North America (Allegheny Mountains). It is a slender tree up to 25 m tall. More winter-hardy than balsam fir, but does not tolerate urban conditions well and is more demanding on well-drained soils. Needles 1-1.2 long, narrow, resinous buds. At the age of 14 it has a height of 5 m, in the arboretum of Moscow State University at the age of 52 it has a height of 18-22 m. Colorado to Southern California), along rivers on shady slopes, does not form pure stands. A powerful tree up to 50-60 m high, the needles are much larger than those of other species - 5-6 cm in length, with the smell of lemon, dull gray on both sides. In terms of drought resistance, it ranks first among firs suitable for cultivation in Central Russia. It grows well on various soils, even slightly saline ones. Fir is not only the most hardy in relation to adverse environmental factors, but also the most photophilous. Lives up to 350 years. In culture, the height at 30 years old is 8 m, in the arboretum of Moscow State University at the age of 56 years it has a height of 16-18 m.

      Subalpine fir (A.lasiocarpa) - should be a promising species for the Central Russian strip, occurs in nature close to the Arctic Circle (63 degrees north latitude), distributed from Alaska to Oregon, Utah - high in the mountains, on the border of forests. The tree is up to 30-40 m tall, grows very slowly at a young age, at 100-200 years old it reaches 15-22 m in height, lives up to 350 years. In culture conditions at 30 years old - 7.1 m (GBS RAS). The needles are 2-4 cm long, the buds are highly resinous.

      Arizona fir (A.arizonica) – a tree up to 15 m tall, grows in mixed forests of the alpine belt in fairly humid habitats in the west of North America, close to subalpine fir, differing in smaller size. In Moscow, it is in the collection of the GBS RAS, where at the age of 17 it reaches a height of 17 m, and is recognized as promising for landscaping.

      High fir (A.excelsior) , also giant fir (A.grandis) - in nature sometimes reach a height of 100 m, common in the western part of North America, in the mountains rising up to 2100 m above sea level, rarely forming pure stands. Specimens planted in Europe after 1830 do not yet exceed 50 m in height. The species is resistant in Germany, but is considered less resistant to frost than the pretty fir. Available in the collection of the GBS RAS, at the age of 32 it has a height of 7 m (annual growth is 16-30 cm).

      Noble fir (A.procera) , aka (A.nobilis) in its homeland, in the coastal mountains of western North America, reaches 80 m in height, lives 600-700 years. In culture in Germany, it does not exceed 20 m by the age of 60. The needles are 2.5 - 3 cm. In Russia, it has been known since the end of the 19th century, but it is very rare in parks on the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus; in St. Petersburg it grows bushy up to 1.2 m in height.

      A.amabilis fir (A.amabilis) is a tree reaching in its homeland - in the western part of North America (Oregon and British Columbia) - a height of 75-80 m. Needles 3 cm long, smell of oranges, resinous buds. In Russia, this fir has been known since 1846, in the Arboretum. Schroeder at the age of 40 has a height of about 5 m.

      The experience of botanical gardens with the introduction of the genus fir indicates a rather low winter hardiness of most of the species included in the test, since this majority grows in the neotropical areas of the Pacific Ocean and is quite thermophilic. Fir trees are shade tolerant, but thrive best in full light, requiring partial shade in their first years of life. The first decade they grow slowly, then growth accelerates and continues until old age.


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