Two of the most popular Christmas trees in the market today are Fraser fir and Balsam fir. Both of these species are known to have good needle retention, however, retailers must take steps to keep these trees fresh. Fraser fir trees tend to develop with fewer buds and, therefore, are typically somewhat layered and slightly more open than Balsam fir. Balsam fir trees, on the other hand, often have a vigorous bud set and put out a tremendous amount of new growth. Consequently, these trees are typically very dense with thick, blue-green needles.
The best way to ship Fraser fir or Balsam fir is by refrigerated truck or enclosed van. Trees shipped in vans must be promptly unloaded and stored in the shade or some other cool place. Although both Fraser fir and Balsam fir are known as good needle holders, it is best to put a fresh cut on the butts and place the trees in water-holding stands. Once a customer selects a Fraser or Balsam fir, be sure to put another fresh cut on the butt before you allow the tree to leave the lot. Always remind customers to use large water-holding stands, and to fill them daily. A Fraser fir or Balsam fir Christmas tree will typically last well through the holiday season if it is cared for properly.