Scents of the Holiday Season


by Kate Wilson

My colleagues and I were discussing our favorite smelling Christmas tree as they started rolling into the nursery the other day. And while it’s still a toss-up between Balsam Fir and Douglas Fur – both having a strong citrus scent- we decided there are two other variables to consider when picking out the perfect Christmas tree. Branch strength (for holding up ornaments) and needle retention. Here’s the list of fresh cut Christmas tree varieties we carry.

Scotch pines have stiff dark green pokey needles. Good branch stiffness and needle retention. Mild to no scent. It is an excellent value.

White pines have long soft needles with limber branches. Mild scent. Good needle retention and is also an excellent value.

*nerd alert : Frasier, Balsam and Canaan’s all derived from the same ancestor (Abies balsama) and then became sub species evolving differently due to geographical differences. Balsams in Canada, Fraser’s in NC and Canaan in WV and southern Ohio.

Frasers are the king of needle retention, have a strong fragrance and strong branches, their needles are blue-green with a silvery-grey undertone. We view the Frasers as our premiere Christmas tree.

Balsams have the strongest fragrance of the firs. They have deeper green needles,  a narrow open habit (old fashion look) and flexible branches. Balsams are also the most inexpensive of all the firs.

Canaans are pretty much the exact same as frasers except branches aren’t quite as stiff. For anyone looking to be the most eco-friendly, these are Ohio grown.

Concolor have strong branches and longer needles. A bluish green color and a strong orange/citrus fragrance. It’s lovely.

Douglas have more flexible branches with short needles. Also having an orange scent with moderate needle retention.

Blue spruce is not as common. Very strong branches with pokey needles. Mild to no fragrance.


Now that I let you know what trees have strong scents and you can tell me which you think smells the best? I’m going to start a tally.

Whether you’re considering a fresh cut tree or have been choosing them for years, I wanted to share a couple care tips for the season. Now wait a minute – fresh cut – you may be thinking to yourself….what do you mean care tips??! It is already cut, right? What else is there?!

After getting a fresh cut, a service the nursery provides or you decide to do it yourself, you need to get that tree in water asap! Even if you’re not putting up inside or in the tree stand right away, place it in a bucket of water right away. Sap will start gumming up the cut, so have a ½” minimum for a fresh cut.

It is really important to check daily for the first few days for water. It’s downright startling how much and how quickly the tree will take up water. This water supply will help keep the tree fresh longer. After the first few days the need for water will slow considerably.

Straight up water is fine, but some like to give there tree a cocktail of sorts. I remember my Dad mixing in Sprite to the tree stand. It’s fun to experiment, but the most important factor is keeping the tree stand full for those first few days. A product I do recommend is Santa’s Magic Water Spout. It’s a long skinny funnel with a cup at the top end, and relieves us from having to fumble with pouring watering into the tree stand while under the tree! It blends in with tree, making watering way easier ($7.99), and reaches about 3’ tall.

Lastly, the cooler the room, the longer the tree will last. Keeping it away from heating vents is also a good idea.

Here’s to Happy Holidays and a Merry Chistmas!!

IMG_7710PS: Below is our Tree Lot information, in case you can’t make it into any of our Garden Centers!


Monday – Thursday 11 am – 8 pm
Friday 11 am – 9 pm
Saturday 9 am – 9 pm
Sunday 10 am – 7 pm

Lot Locations:

1. SHERMAN SHOPPING CNTR (Rt. 256) 1230 Hill Rd N, Pickerington, OH 43147 – 3 Miles South of I-70, Pickerington, Canal Winchester

2. WEST OF LENOX CENTER – KINNEAR RD 1066 Kinnear Rd, Columbus, OH 43212 Columbus, Upper Arlington

3. ACORN FARMS 7679 Worthington Rd, Westerville OH 43082 Galena, Westerville, Polaris, Lewis Center

4. KARRIC SQ. SHOPPING CTR 5857 Frantz Rd, Columbus OH 43016 – South of Tuttle, Dublin, Columbus

5. GLENGARY CENTER (Dempsey Rd.) 5992 Westerville Road, Westerville, OH 43081 Westerville, Columbus

6. HIGH STREET (North of Graceland) 5304 N High St, Columbus, OH 43214 – Across from Iron Grill BBQ Restaurant Worthington, Columbus

7. HILLIARD ROME ROAD 2633 Hilliard Rome Rd, Columbus, OH 4  3026 – Corner of Hilliard Rome & Roberts Rd Hilliard, Plain City, Upper Arlington, Columbus

This entry was posted in Gardening, trees and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.