White spruce and balsam fir are popular Christmas tree choices. Underneath all the ornaments, strings of lights and layers of tinsel they might seem the same, but when you get past the glitter you can recognize their unique personalities.
Both species have evergreen needles, however spruce needles are square and pointy while the fir needles are flat and blunt making the fir tree much more huggable than the prickly spruce. Plus, balsam fir needles stay on the Christmas tree for a long time after cutting. The cones of white spruce are small (about 3-6 cm), while those of balsam fir are much bigger (4-10 cm), sticky and point up. Curiously, like many teenagers, young balsam fir have resin filled “pimples” on their bark that can be fun to pop!
Both species are adaptable to a wide variety of soil and site types (except standing water) and both are shade tolerant (fir more so). Both species grow well with a mix of other species, and aside from being grown as Christmas trees and ornamentals, they are a good choice for windbreaks and hedges.
Why not grow your own Christmas tree!? We will take a short break from the blog but you can still order you tree seedlings on-line to be ready for planting in the spring. There are 23 species to choose from but they are going fast, so place your order early to get the best selection! You can order on-line using our new order form http://orders.ltc.on.ca/treeform/tree_form.php , or just give Ewa a call at 613-394-3915 ext 252 to choose your favourite trees. For all the details please see our website: http://www.ltc.on.ca/stewardship/tssp/
We wish you a happy and healthy holiday season. See you in the New Year!