The Fraser fir (Abies fraseri) is a hugely popular Christmas tree with a classic symmetrical shape and dense silvery-green needles. Take one look at a Fraser fir, and you’ll see why it is so well-admired as a Christmas tree.
Firstly, it looks magical. Abies fraseri has a slender, conical shape and grows symmetrically. The needles are densely packed, don’t drop easily, and have a silvery sheen that sparkles, even before the decorations go on.
Secondly, it smells divine! Fraser firs have a sweet, citrusy scent and an aroma that just oozes Christmas. One whiff, and you’ll be plunged into the Christmas spirit.
Thirdly, the soft, thick needles don’t cut or scrape the skin, making Fraser firs the perfect Christmas tree for families with children and pets. The whole family can get involved in decorating the tree without worrying about prickly needles. Check more out at CTD.
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Pot Grown vs. Fresh Cut Trees
Real Christmas trees suitable for indoor use can be pot-grown or fresh-cut. Pot-grown Christmas trees tend to be more expensive but last for years and can be planted in the garden when they get too big to bring inside.
Fresh-cut Christmas trees are usually cheaper but only last for one year before they need to be disposed of.
Caring for Fraser Fir Trees in Pots Indoors
Pot-grown Fraser fir Christmas trees have been planted in the pots as seedlings. They have strong roots and can continue living for years. Once you’ve finished using them as a Christmas tree, they can be planted out in the garden to continue growing.
Pot-grown Fraser firs can be brought inside for up to around 10 days before they need returned outside.
Bringing The Tree Inside
Before bringing your Fraser fir into a cosy living room, move it into a garage or porch for a couple of days. Doing this allows the tree to acclimatise to indoor temperatures.
Give the tree a gentle shake to remove loose needles and any bugs or webs that may still be lingering inside (don’t worry – there shouldn’t be many at this time of year!) Place the tree into its decorative pot and bring it into position.
Water your tree regularly to keep the soil moist but not water-logged. Ensure the pot has adequate drainage holes to let excess water escape and make sure water doesn’t build up inside the decorative pot.
When the lights and decorations have been taken down, move the tree back into the garage or porch for a few days. Doing this acts as a buffer and allows the Fraser fir to get used to cooler temperatures again before it gets moved back into the garden.
Fresh Cut Fraser Fir Christmas Trees
A fresh-cut Christmas tree has been grown commercially on a farm and chopped down to be used over the festive period.
Looked after properly, fresh-cut Fraser fir trees should last up to 4-5 weeks, making them an ideal choice for those who like their decorations to remain up into the new year.
Getting Your Tree Home
When you get your tree home, unwrap it and tap the trunk on the ground a couple of times to gently shake off spent needles. Cut a couple of inches off the bottom of the trunk and place it in a bucket of water to help keep it fresh. Leave the tree standing in the water until you’re ready to bring it inside to decorate.
Providing your fresh-cut Fraser fir Christmas tree with enough water is the single most important thing you can do to help it last the season. You may be surprised at just how thirsty a cut Fraser fir can be, so check the tree stand daily and ensure it is kept topped up with water. It’s not unusual for a Christmas tree to drink at least a pint of water every day, so the bigger the reservoir in your tree stand, the better.
Position your Christmas tree in a spot where it receives plenty of natural light, but keep it away from heat sources, such as fires or radiators. Keeping your tree cool helps prevent the needles from dropping.
Once the festivities are over for another year and the Christmas tree comes down, you’ll need to dispose of it. Cut trees cannot be planted in the ground or into pots as they don’t have any roots and won’t grow, no matter how well you care for them.
Most local councils offer a pick-up service or drop-off point to dispose of Christmas trees in January. The trees are usually chipped then used for mulching plants across towns, cities and parks. This is a great way to recycle your tree and save it from ending up in landfill.
Decorating the tree is a much-loved Christmas tradition. Whether you’ve opted for a pot-grown or fresh-cut tree this year, ornaments, lights and, of course the star or fairy on top turn a fir tree into a Christmas tree.
If you plan to decorate your Fraser fir tree for Christmas, there are some things to bear in mind.
One of the things that makes the Fraser fir such a popular Christmas tree is the stiff, firm branches. They are strong enough to cope well with heavy baubles and maintain the tree’s natural shape. However, it’s important not to go overboard with baubles and other heavy ornaments. Inspect the branches before placing decorations, so you can ensure they’re strong enough to support the festive features throughout the season.
Examine Christmas lights before you start, and don’t place them on the tree until you’re sure they’re in good working order. Ensure you don’t overload electrical circuits by plugging in too many Christmas lights at the same socket, and always turn fairy lights off at the wall when you leave the house or go to bed.
Caring for Abies fraseri in the Garden All Year Round
General Fraser Fir Care
Fraser firs thrive in sunny light conditions but tolerate part shade, so choose a bright, sheltered spot for your tree. Aim to provide some afternoon shade if the tree is likely to suffer from the high heat of direct sunlight in summer.
Choose a well-draining soil to stop the tree becoming vulnerable to root rot. Heavy clay soils are particularly unsuitable, while loamy and sandy soils are ideal for Fraser firs.
Potted Fraser Firs
Fraser fir trees grown in pots need a little more TLC than those planted in the ground. This is most evident when it comes to watering. Because pots dry out faster, your potted Fraser fir needs to be watered regularly, particularly during dry spells. Ensure the pot has enough drainage holes for excess moisture to flow away easily. You might decide to use pot feet to assist drainage and help protect the roots against frost damage.
Planting A Fraser Fir In the Ground
Fraser firs can be kept in pots until they reach around 6 feet tall. At this point, they need to be planted in the ground to continue growing. Choose a spot in full sun or part shade out of strong winds. Dig a hole a little wider, but no deeper, than the pot. Gently remove the tree from the container. Carefully untangle some of the roots – this step is especially important if the roots are balled up around the pot. Place the Fraser fir in the hole and get someone to hold it straight and upright while you fill in the hole. Water in well and keep watering regularly during the first growing season until the roots establish.
Fraser Firs Planted in the Ground
Planted in the ground, Fraser firs are relatively low-maintenance evergreen trees. Once established, the roots can stretch and find moisture in the soil, so the tree should only need watered during long periods of dry weather.
Mulch with organic matter in spring or early summer. Doing this helps suppress weeds and retains moisture in the soil. Fraser firs have shallow roots, so they don’t like to have to compete with weeds and other trees or plants for moisture and nutrients.
With their shimmering foliage, dense needles and attractive shape, Fraser firs make excellent Christmas trees. Whether you want to keep a cut tree fresh for as long as possible or prefer the idea of growing and nurturing your own tree in the garden, the Fraser fir is an excellent choice.