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Selecting a real Christmas tree

The Christmas tree has stood at the center of seasonal celebrations for hundreds of years, representing joy and hope and delighting young and old alike. To keep your Christmas tree through to the New Year, you'll need the freshest tree possible from the outset. The best way to do that? Buy your tree at a garden centre or tree nursery. Tree experts are the best placed to give you advice and ensure you take home a healthy tree with abundant and brilliant foliage.

The most popular varieties of natural Christmas trees

The Balsam fir is a bestseller in Quebec and all-round pleaser.

  • releases a wonderful, under-stated woodsy fragrance
  • natural resistance to home heating
  • releases a forest fragrance
  • needle retention is very good
  • branches are a deep shade of green.

The most popular tree in Eastern Canada is the Fraser fir.

  • bluish-green in colour
  • better needle retention than the Balsam
  • resistance to home heating
  • branches are strong and slightly upturned
  • virtually fragrance-free.

And finaly the Cook fir

  • sturdy tree
  • green to blue-tinted green
  • releases a forest fragrance that smells like Christmas
  • needles are short and prickly
  • needle retention is excellent

Natural Christmas tree grading standards

  • Premium designates trees that are well-shaped, clean, fresh, and with good colour.
  • Grade #1 indicates a slight imperfection in the shape, but otherwise fairly healthy and with good colour.
  • Grade #2 designates trees with more than two imperfections in shape and colour.

The measurement for the height is the distance from the base to the top of the main leader, excluding the part of the leader that extends more than four inches above the crown.

How to choose a fresh-cut and healthy fir tree

Before you go to choose your tree, take a few measurements at home first: you'll need the ceiling height and you'll need to calculate the distance required to move freely around the tree.

At the store

  • Generally speaking, you need to look for a well-shaped fir tree with vibrant colours.
  • Depending on the tree variety, choose a tree with abundant branches that are spread out evenly on the trunk, without spaces or any broken segments.
  • Opt for a tree with firmly attached though pliable branches and needles. If you press the needles of a branch between your thumb and forefinger than draw your hand in, the needles should not drop into your hand. If only a few needles fall out, the tree is healthy.
  • Lift the tree up. A heavy tree is full of sap and therefore freshly cut.

When you get home

  • Leave your new Christmas tree in the garage or on the balcony for a few hours to ensure the change in temperature is as gradual as possible.
  • If a section of the base of your tree was not sawn off when you bought it, use a tree saw to make a straight cut across the base, taking off a few centimetres from the original cut. This will improve water uptake.
  • Bring the tree inside, place it in the stand and add water. Be sure to set the tree away from any heat source, such as a fireplace or electric baseboard heater.
  • Cut away the tree netting and wait for the tree to relax. It may take a few hours for the branches to open.
  • Keep the base of the tree submerged in water to prevent the tree from drying out.
  • You can also spray the branches with room-temperature water to help them retain moisture. Be sure to turn off the lights first before you do this!

Find a store

Centre du jardin Dion

121 rue St-Charles



J7E 2A9

450 430-7710

Centre horticole Beau Site

844 route de l'église



G0R 3G0

418 598-3064

Centre Jardin Cloutier

11 Chemin Alonzo Wright



J9B 1L4

819 778-3576

Centre Jardin Lauzon

360 Chemin de Montréal Ouest





Comptoir Richelieu

350 rue du Collège



J3P 2J5

450 742-9444


333 route Cameron



G6E 3E2

418 387-7595

Jardin Cléroux & Frères Ltée

13230 Boul. Gouin Ouest



H8Z 1X3

514 626-6040

Les Centres Jardins Paradis

1100 Boul. Bastien



G2K 1E6

418 626-4000

Les Entreprises J.F. Faucher

1100 Chemin de St-Jean

La Prairie


J5R 2L5

450 659-2222