Choosing, putting up and decorating a Christmas tree is a beloved holiday tradition shared by families and friends all over the world. Bringing out and carefully unpacking your collection of tree ornaments is a special part of that, evoking memories of holidays past and creating new ones every year.
If your ornament collection includes an array of heavy ornaments, it's important to choose a Christmas tree with sturdy branches. Available types of Christmas trees vary by region, but several species are known for having especially strong, sturdy boughs that can support even the heaviest of ornaments. Be on the lookout for these particular examples at the Christmas tree farm, and you won't need to worry about bending branches or falling heirlooms.
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Consider Christmas Tree Species
You are probably aware that there are different tree species available at Christmas tree farms, garden centers and retail outlets. The best-known and most popular Christmas trees include the noble fir, Douglas fir and Norway spruce, although many more are available. If you want to buy the best tree for heavy ornaments, pay attention to species instead of just picking the tree that looks the nicest. It's a good idea to chat with a salesperson and mention that you want a tree that can handle heavy ornaments.
The best tree species for heavy ornaments
The following tree species are notable for having sturdy branches, which makes them excellent choices for hanging heavy ornaments. Before heading out to buy a Christmas tree, do a little research to find an outlet offering these tree species.
- Scotch pine (a.k.a. Scots pine): This bright green tree is widely available as a Christmas tree in the United States. Its branches are stiff and sturdy, with long-lasting needles in double clusters. The branches are in an open, spacious arrangement, making this tree suitable for displaying larger ornaments as well as heavier ones.
- Virginia pine: Popular in the south, this pine tree has strong branches, short and dense needles, and pretty spiraled foliage, making it a great choice for hanging heavy ornaments.
- Noble fir: One of the most popular Christmas trees in the western U.S., the noble fir has stiff branches and upward-pointing needles, making it suitable for heavy ornaments. Other pluses are good needle retention and a typically symmetrical pyramid shape.
- White spruce: This tree has short, blunt-tipped, stiff needles that can handle heavy ornaments. It has a blue-gray color and a nice natural pyramid shape. One drawback is an unpleasant aroma when the needles are crushed.
Species that might be OK for heavy ornaments
Some other popular Christmas trees that might be able to handle heavy ornaments are the Douglas fir, balsam fir, Fraser fir and Colorado blue spruce. Their limbs aren't as sturdy as the species above, but larger branches near the base should be able to support heavy ornaments.
The worst Christmas trees for heavy ornaments
There are a few Christmas tree species to avoid if you want to hang heavy ornaments. They include:
- White pine: This tree species has slender branches that are likely to bend if you try to hang heavy ornaments on them.
- Eastern red cedar: The soft, pliable leaves of this species are not suitable for hanging heavy ornaments.
- Leyland cypress: This is another type of Christmas tree with soft foliage, making it unsuitable for heavy ornaments.
Assess Individual Trees
Look beyond just the recommended Christmas tree species for heavy ornaments and carefully assess the individual trees you are considering. Bring a pair of gardening gloves so you can reach your arm into the foliage and feel how sturdy and thick the branches are. For a more balanced display, try to find a tree with some branches near the top that feel strong enough for heavy ornaments. Otherwise, they might all need to be hung on the bigger branches near the bottom.
Also, consider the freshness of any real tree. The branches should be flexible, and few needles should shed when you brush or shake a branch. A fresher tree will support those heavy ornaments and look great throughout the holiday season.
Hang Heavy Ornaments First
After you bring your Christmas tree ornament collection out of storage, take a little time to sort out the types of ornaments by category. This will help you decorate the tree in the preferred order and ensure you save the sturdiest branches for the heaviest ornaments. Sort your ornaments into roughly the following categories:
- String lights and strings of beads, ribbons or tinsel: Hang these first and tuck them in toward the trunk of the tree. Make sure the arrangement is even and looks nice before continuing.
- Heavy ornaments: Generally, glass, metal and oversized ornaments are the heaviest. Start with these so you can select the sturdiest branches to hold them securely. Save the front-and-center strong branches for your favorite heavy ornaments. Hang breakable ornaments high enough to prevent small kids and pets from reaching them but not so high that the branches are thin or an accidental drop would break them.
- Medium-weight ornaments: Move on to the next-heaviest sets of ornaments, prioritizing branches and positions by weight and preference.
- Lightweight ornaments: Hang smaller, lighter ornaments last, as they can safely hang on any leftover branches at any position.
- Filler ornaments: These are ornaments that aren't precious or sentimental to you but add color and interest to any parts of the tree that look a bit bare. Ball ornaments are a good example. Use them to complete a balanced overall look.