For live Christmas tree enthusiasts, decorating a live, aromatic tree heralds the arrival of the Christmas season. Pine, fir and spruce trees present an array of options to consumers. The lush elegance of fir trees, such as the grand and noble firs, attracts holiday shoppers. You can easily identify the grand and noble fir trees and determine which tree is best-suited for your holiday home.
Identification of the Grand Fir Tree
The arrangement of the needles helps to distinguish the grand fir from other fir trees. Sprays of 1 to 1 1/2-inch long needles appear in two separate rows. The contrasting needles are emerald green on top with a lighter silver underside. The needles on the sides of the tree's branches point out to provide a flat appearance. The needles do not point up or down. The grand fir holds the distinction of being the most aromatic fir tree.
Identification of the Noble Fir Tree
The dark green, blue-green and silver color variations make the noble fir distinguishable from the grand fir. The needles on the sides and top of the tree's branches point up to form semicircles. The lower area of branches appear exposed.The noble fir's needles measure approximately 1 inch in length. This fir is known for its strong branches and open areas that provide space and support for heavy decorations.
Growing Grand Fir Trees
Grand fir trees grow from British Columbia to northern California. The panhandle area of Idaho produces the majority of new seedlings for Christmas tree growers. New seedlings spend one to two years in a nursery. New trees are marketable in approximately six to eight years. Problems for growers of the grand fir include its vulnerability to aphids and needle retention when the tree is shipped to colder climates.
Growing Noble Fir Trees
Noble fir trees range from northern California to the Cascade and coastal areas of Oregon and Washington. The best seedlings originate from rich soils in the middle elevation regions. Christmas tree farms purchase seedlings that spend at least one year in a nursery. Successful production of the noble fir tree requires a high level of expertise, individual attention from the grower and optimal soil drainage. New trees are marketable in approximately six to ten years.
- Photo Credit Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images